Millions announced for farmers, job support in cyclone-ravaged regions

Sun, May 14
 Farm land is seen flooded on February 14 in Gisborne

Tens of millions will be invested in support for farmers and employment programmes in cyclone-ravaged regions, Kieran McAnulty says, while a $100 million fund will go towards assisting councils towards flood resilience.

The additional funding came amid a wave of pre-budget announcements on Sunday for the country's recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle and the January floods.

Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said the $100 million fund would "go towards practical flood protection infrastructure like stopbanks as well as other local measures that can protect communities from flooding."

"The Government will work closely with impacted councils from the Far North through to the Wairarapa on interventions tailored to each region and their vulnerability to future flooding.

"Decisions on the funding will also be tied to work on the future of land use to ensure streamlined decisions are made."

$35m for farmers, grower support

Keiran McAnulty in Greytown.

McAnulty said the Government would invest $35.4 million "to support the safety and wellbeing of farmers and growers, and stock in cyclone-damaged areas by scaling up on-farm technical, scientific and financial advice."

“Our rural communities are not only the backbone of our economy, but they’re also a support network in times of crisis,” he said.

The Rural Communities Minister said the new funding would help support

  • access to expert advice where it is needed to inform and address urgent health and safety, animal welfare needs and to ensure the safety of ongoing operations;
  • Urgent maintenance where this is critical to the health and safety of stock and staff
  • critical transport of essential supplies, people, and stock related to animal health and welfare needs and health and safety.

Of the $35 million, $5.4 million will be used to help operate "rural community hubs" and ensure ongoing access to reliable telecommunications, including satellite connectivity.

Support to get more people into work

Businesses and workers in affected regions will also receive a boost in employment and social support to help them through the recovery.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the number of people on welfare was "slowly rising" in cyclone-affected regions with the disruption to normal jobs in the area.

As a result, the Government would invest additional money in schemes "to keep people in the workforce, including the Transition to Work grant, the $5K to Work scheme, Mana in Mahi, and industry partnerships."

"The package we are announcing today will help people retrain and prepare for the jobs that will be required during the recovery and rebuild," she said.

"As well as retraining, we will also focus on ‘retaining’."

"The recovery package also includes $5 million for Extending Community Support Funds, establishes a new Jobs and Skills Hub in Gisborne and provides a further $1 million towards Enhanced Taskforce Green, who are still supporting Councils with clean-up work."

She said there would also be an additional $6 million for food banks and food rescue organisations to help them "meet increasing demand on services".


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