Further support for struggling farmers

Drought stricken farmers in the Lower North Island and South Island’s West Coast will have access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) Acting Social Development Minister Peeni Henare has announced.

The drought across Taranaki, western parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington, and the Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast was recently classified as a medium-scale adverse event by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor.

 “The classification activates additional Government support for farmers and growers in impacted areas,” said Mr Henare.

 “We know some of our farming families have been hit hard by this long and challenging dry period and are struggling to make ends meet. We want them to know they can ask for help and that there is support available to them,” he said.

 “We also recognise that even with some rainfall, droughts can be slow to recover from and that the effects will be felt longer term.

 “RAPs will be accessible from Monday 22 January. They are provided to help meet essential living expenses with a payment equal to Jobseeker Support for farmers affected by an adverse event.

 “The income of some farmers has been severely impacted. I urge those suffering hardship as a result of the drought to contact Work and Income to see what they might be eligible for.

 The drought classification has also triggered other government support with $160,000 in North Island areas and $50,000 in South Island areas going to the Rural Support Trusts for recovery coordination and on-farm recovery facilitators. Tax relief measures are also being extended to drought affected farmers.

Questions and answers

 How do farmers get in touch with Work and Income?

Phone 0800 559 009

(NB: While Work and Income offices across the Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington regions will be closed for Wellington Anniversary Day on Monday, phone lines will remain open).

How do farmers get in touch with a Rural Support Trust?
Phone 0800 787 254 or go to www.rural-support.org.nz

 What are the affected areas?
15 districts across 4 regions

Region: Taranaki
•    New Plymouth
•    Stratford
•    South Taranaki

Region: Manawatu-Whanganui
•    Rangitikei
•    Whanganui
•    Manawatu
•    Palmerston North 
•    Horowhenua

Region: Wellington
•    Kapiti Coast
•    Upper Hutt
•    Lower Hutt
•    Porirua
•    Wellington

Region: West Coast

  • Grey
  • Buller