Government commits further assistance for drought and flood-affected rural communities

Agriculture Social Development and Employment

Farmers and growers affected by this year’s drought or floods in Marlborough, Tasman, West Coat, Canterbury, Otago and the Chatham Islands will have access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from today, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced.

“The Government is committed to easing the financial pressures on farmers and growers and help secure their recovery given the recent droughts and floods that have affected their incomes,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The Rural Support Trusts in all these areas have been doing great work in the region, and the Ministry of Social Development will be working closely with them to get support to those who need it.

“Government has also activated Enhanced Taskforce Green, Temporary Accommodation Service and invested over $6 million to help rural communities recover from recent adverse events.” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We know droughts and floods take a long time to recover from. We encourage farmers and growers to make contact with their Rural Support Trust to see what support may be available for them to access. The work of the Trusts is considerable and hugely appreciated,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The drought in Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago and the Chatham Islands was classified as a large-scale adverse event by the Minister of Agriculture on March 12 2021. The flooding in Canterbury was classified as a medium-scale adverse event on 1 June 2021; while the flooding in the West Coast, Marlborough and Nelson was classified as a medium-scale adverse event on 18 July 2021.

The Ministry of Social Development works with the Ministry for Primary Industries, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), regional councils, the Rural Support Trust and other agencies to monitor conditions and review the support needed.