Federated Farmers has welcomed the Government’s declaration of a medium scale adverse event for farmers in the Hawke’s Bay. Federated Farmers stresses that the help is practical and advisory in nature and very few farmers, if any, will quality for direct welfare support.
“There are probably about 100 farms that have been heavily damaged by this recent storm activity while the rain continues to fall,” says Kevin Mitchell, Federated Famers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.
“It’s going to take some time for the worst affected to recover. This is due to the level of damage done to farm infrastructure like fences, races, tracks and even dams. The biggest impact has been to pasture, which is the engine room of any farm.
“Yet I need to dispel the notion that farmers will be getting social welfare cheques. Any form of welfare assistance is subject to strict means testing and I don’t know of any farmer who will qualify.
“It’s really important people realise that we’re in business but like with any other form of emergency affecting businesses, the Government is making practical assistance available so that we can recover on our own two feet.
“The biggest gain to farmers with this announcement is Enhanced Taskforce Green, via Work and Income New Zealand. Given farm recovery is urgent it means we will get assistance with temporary workers, while those workers will get practical and fulfilling experience.
“Federated Farmers has now established a dedicated line available for farmers in the Bay, who may be able to ‘adopt’ stock from affected farms.
“That line is 0800 376 844 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. What we’re keen to know is the capacity of other farms to take stock. All we need is a name, a contact telephone number, a locality and the number and type of stock other farmers may be able to accommodate.
“For affected members of Federated Farmers who need legal, employment or any other form of advice, they are encouraged to call 0800 327 646.
“The declaration now means that the East Coast Rural Support Trust is funded to provide counseling services that I would encourage farmers to take up.
“Federated Farmers experience from the 2010 Darfield Earthquake and Southland/South Otago storms is that once the adrenalin wears off, the enormity of what’s happens hits home. Farmers and their families need to open up about what’s happened as that’s part of the recovery effort too.
“The East Coast Rural Support Trust is also in a position to provide farm management advice, which is frankly invaluable. Federated Farmers would also encourage affected farmers to talk with their bank and farm accountant to get a complete picture.
“Federated Farmers is currently working hand in glove with East Coast Rural Support Trust as well as with the farm merchants, PGG Wrightson and Farmlands, to get a recovery package together.
“We also deeply appreciate the collegial relationship we’ve formed with MAF and the councils - Hastings District Council, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. To that list I must add our local MP’s, Chris Tremain and Craig Foss, and of course, the Minister, the Hon David Carter,” Mr Mitchell concluded.