Support package for earthquake-affected primary sector

A support package for the primary sector around the upper South Island has been announced today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“The earthquakes this week have had a major impact on farmers, fishers, growers and the wine industry. The damage is widespread and severe and will need the help of the Government to recover,” says Mr Guy. 

The package today involves funding of at least $5 million and includes:

  • $4 million for Mayoral Disaster Rural Relief funds (Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough) to help with non-insurable assets such as tracks, on-farm bridges and water infrastructure
  • $500,000 to support Rural Recovery Coordinators in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough Districts
  • $500,000 extra funding for Rural Support Trusts
  • $200,000 per month to mobilise and support skilled primary industry students and workers for farm recovery work
  • Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from Work and Income NZ - emergency payments for farmers in real hardship.

Mr Guy visited Kaikōura and North Canterbury yesterday to meet with local farmers and industry leaders.

“Many farms remain isolated due to road closures and some dairy farmers are having to spread milk back on pasture in a controlled way. Most have backup power but lack of supplies is an issue for more isolated farms.

“MPI is also working closely with the Kaikoura community to analyse the impact the earthquake has had on local fisheries. The seabed was lifted several metres out of the water along 100km of coastline, dramatically altering paua and crayfish habitats. As a result there may need to be some areas closed to fishing in the short term until we understand the full impact, and this is being discussed with local groups.

“Overall this is a real blow to North Canterbury given this is an area that’s been suffering through drought for nearly three years. However there is a whole-of-Government response underway and the community is pulling together to get through this.

“This is only a first step, and we will be working closely with local communities to do all we can to help people recover and get back on their feet.

“I want to thank all the individuals and organisations who are working so hard to support the communities affected, in particular Federated Farmers’ adverse events team (0800 FARMING), Dairy NZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Fonterra, local councils and the Rural Support Trusts.”

Yesterday the Government also announced a support package for small businesses impacted in Kaikōura, which some fishing employees will be able to access the business support package.

The 0800 779 997 Government Helpline has been activated to assist people needing financial and other support following the November 14 earthquake.

Further information

  • Rural Recovery Coordinators are experienced local leaders who help coordinate recovery measures. They help ensure the right support goes to the right places at the right times.  
  • Rural Support Trusts organise support and community events, professional meetings, and one-on-one mentoring. They can also help with guidance for Rural Assistance Payments and other relief that may be available in some cases.