Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Southland

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has declared an adverse event for the Southland and Otago regions, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers.

“Widespread flooding has resulted in severe disruption, with many people evacuated from their homes and many farms being affected by flood waters. It’s putting pressure on our farmers, and this Government is committed to helping them get through”, he said.

"I've been on the ground in Southland today and based on what I’ve seen and the advice I’ve received from Ministry for Primary Industries field staff, the scale of impact is beyond the communities’ ability to cope.

“This unlocks extra funding of $100,000 for the Rural Support Trusts to help speed up the recovery of farming businesses, including pastoral support and specialist technical advice.

“This is initial funding, we’ll continue to assess whether further funding is needed as the full extent of the impact becomes more apparent over the next few days and weeks. MPI are continuing to work closely with Civil Defence Emergency Management staff, industry groups and others to support the recovery effort, including the animal welfare response.

“When visiting today I stopped in to see the Civil Defence Emergency Management staff in the Emergency Operations Centre. I was really impressed with how they are coordinating what is a really big and rapidly moving operation to help people, animals and property across Southland.

“They’re working around the clock, as are Police, Fire and Emergency NZ, NZ Defence Force and National Emergency Management Agency personnel. The affected communities are being really well served”.

Note to Editors

What’s an adverse event?

The Ministry for Primary Industries makes the classification, usually following an approach by the community. There are three adverse events – localised, medium and large-scale. These cover things like droughts, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters and take into account the magnitude of the event, the ability to prepare for it and the capacity of the community to cope.  

Assistance measures can include:

  • Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination.
  • Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.
  • A boost for the local Rural Support Trust to help serve their communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers.
  • Technology transfer activities and events.

Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate. 

More information on adverse events is available at:

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/adverse-events/

Phone the Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254