Volunteers rebuilding hundreds of kilometres of Hawke's Bay fences

A volunteer drive to help get Hawke's Bay's fences up again has been in action this week, but some farmers say the Government could also be doing more to help.

Farmers trying to rebuild in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle have a mountain of a task - from cleaning up their land to rebuilding sheds, ripping out crops, and kilometres of fencing.

Farms across Hawke’s Bay have been getting some much-needed fencing replaced this week by a group of around 30 volunteers.

Fencing Contractors Association NZ Phil Cornelius said the fencing need in the region is huge.

“I can say quite easily it's going to be hundreds of kilometres of fencing and I mean hundreds and if you put that into a seven-wire fence and there's a kilometre in one fence times seven that's seven thousand metres of wire that's got to go up, never mind all the posts that have to go up.

“We have been building around two kilometres worth of new fences a day, every pair of hands help and we encourage others to come lend a hand too,” Cornelius said.

Central Hawke’s Bay farmer Anna Lee said farms are at a total standstill.

“Without a fence on farm, you can’t do anything, we need a fence to keep stock in, we haven't got a single paddock that's fenced up, all our stock is at the neighbours.

“It has been amazing having all the volunteer help, puts a smile back on our face, it just makes you feel so good, really grateful for all the volunteer help because we haven't had it from anywhere else, the power to be at the top, we feel like we have been forgotten,” Lee said.

While the help is appreciated industry leaders in the cyclone-damaged region want to see more from officials.

Hawke’s Bay fencing contractor Shane Tilson said he is fully booked for the next year.

“Huge amounts can be done to help, local and central government need to stop dicking around, the talk fest is over, we have to get on farm and get things done now.

“We know there's funding out there but the jumping through hoops to get things going is frustrating, up and running, really starting to get pissed off because we can’t help enough people,” Tilson said.


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