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Millions distributed to flood-affected farmers

The Ministry of Primary Industries [MPI] has paid out $36.5 million to flood-affected farmers, according to Wairarapa MP and Minister for Rural Communities Kieran McAnulty.

Responding to questions from Tukituki Labour MP Anna Lorck, McAnulty said MPI had reported to him that government support included $51 million for recovery grants to help farmers, growers, and Maori landowners.

“MPI has received more than 5900 applications for grants, with 3249 applications having already been paid – a total of $36.5 million.”

A total of $215,000 is available from Wairarapa’s Mayoral Relief Fund, with a further $250,000 provided by the government for business recovery grants.

The Times-Age reported that a total of $68,300 in grants from the Mayoral Relief Fund had now been given to seven applicants by last week, with those in need being urged to apply if they need financial help.

Money from the fund has gone to affected families – a total of 14 adults and 14 children – with the majority of applicants in the badly affected areas around Tinui in Masterton District and one in South Wairarapa.

McAnulty said rural communities bore the brunt of the cyclone, and there has been an extensive effort to reconnect isolated rural communities.

“However, there remain 43 farms with restricted access in Hawke’s Bay and Tai Rawhiti.”

He said MPI is maintaining contact with the farms and households, and work continues to return them to full access.

Lorck asked McAnulty how the government is ensuring farmers receive the supplies they need.

“I’ve been advised that 105 tonnes of fencing and equipment have been delivered to cut-off rural communities through Operation Reach.

“Ten thousand bales of feed and more than 3,000 hectares of grazing have been donated through the National Feed Coordination Service since mid-February. This service was established alongside Federated Farmers,” McAnulty replied.

He said 6200 cattle and sheep have been moved off cut-off farms in Patoka and Tutira in Hawke’s Bay as part of Operation Muster. A further 6000 animals have been booked in for the meat works and sale yards for next week, and three sets of portable cattle yards have been set up in northern Hawke’s Bay to help the cut-off farms reduce livestock numbers ahead of winter.

“What support has been provided to rural support trusts in affected areas?” Lorck asked.

McAnulty said the government has provided 920,000 to rural support trusts for their work in response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Rural support trusts in Northland, North Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, the Tararua District, and Wairarapa all received funding to provide support to help people access relevant services such as mental health and recovery grants, and co-ordinate local clean-up efforts.”

McAnulty said the work of rural support trusts is critical to the wellbeing of people in rural communities.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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