Goodhew visits damaged forests on West CoastPrimary Industries
Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has visited the wind ravaged West Coast today to experience first-hand the impact on local communities.
“The severe winds on last Thursday (17 April) have affected the indigenous and plantation forests, as well as the wider agriculture sector from Karamea to Haast,” says Ms Goodhew.
During the storm the strongest gust recorded was 130km/hr at Westport, although the level of damage suggests the winds were even stronger in some areas. The Insurance Council of New Zealand is still assessing the damage.
“In true West Coast style the community has rallied around and demonstrated extraordinary resilience,” says Mrs Goodhew.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has been supporting affected landowners by providing advice on a wide range of issues, including options for milling storm damaged indigenous timber, and holding sessions on how to safely clear windthrown trees.
“As the clean-up continues I encourage affected landowners to take extreme care when removing windthrown trees. These are dangerous to work with as they can be unstable and highly unpredictable,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“From today MPI, in conjunction with the West Coast Rural Support Trust, is holding information sessions on tree safety. Attendees will learn about safe handling of windthrown trees, and get tips on chainsaw and machinery use.
“It is pleasing to hear that almost all dairy farms have resolved access and milking issues. I am told that no animal welfare issues are expected in the short term, however some farms may need to dry off cows earlier than expected.
“MPI will continue to work with the West Coast Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers and others to monitor the situation,” says Mrs Goodhew.