Government extending support for farmers, growers hit by Cyclone Gabrielle

The Government's extending its support for farmers and growers in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced on Monday the Government has approved $26 million in grants for farmers and growers hit hard by the weather event. That's in addition to the $25 million in grants already announced and the $4 million rural community recovery fund.

There are grants of up to $10,000 for pastoral and arable farmers/growers and $2000 per hectare up to a maximum of $40,000 for horticulture growers. 

"The uptake of the grants has been strong with the number of applications surpassing 2846 in less than a fortnight (12 days), and more than $17.4 million paid out," Robertson said.

"We knew there would be more need during the response phase as people took time to take stock and work through their clean-up from Cyclone Gabrielle. As with the response to COVID we need to be nimble, flexible and responsive to immediate needs."

Robertson said ministers are currently working on the next steps for the response.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the Government was focused on helping rural communities get back on their feet quickly. 

"Farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and other rural businesses drive the economies of the regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle," O'Connor said.

"It's important they have access to help now to protect future production, for example enabling remediation around tree bases to save vital trees and vines, clearing silt to improve farm access, and making repairs to stock water systems, culverts, and fencing.

"We have been on the ground in the affected regions talking with farmers and growers. They've told us the grants are providing certainty of immediate funding, which has given them the confidence and reassurance to start remediating their farms and orchards."

The primary sector support of $55 million comes on top of $25 million for businesses affected by the cyclone, $250 million for the National Land Transport Fund (NTLF) and money into the mayoral relief funds.