Canterbury weather: 'Adverse event' declaration unlocks support for flood-affected farmers

The Agriculture Minister has declared an 'adverse event' for the Canterbury region - a move that unlocks $500,000-worth of support for farmers and growers battling the impacts of severe weather.

Around 400mm of rain fell across parts of Canterbury over recent days, causing rivers to burst their banks and resulting in widespread damage to infrastructure and properties.

Many of those affected by the wild weather were farmers, who battled to keep stock safe amid the flooding.

A state of emergency has already been declared for the region, but the declaration of a medium-scale adverse event means farmers will now have access to more Government support.

"The money will be used for recovery grants, to enable the region's three Rural Support Trusts to provide extra help to farmers, and for other flood assistance where needed," Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said on Tuesday.

"We will continue to assess whether further support is required as the full extent of the flooding becomes clearer."

O'Connor said the flooding put further pressure on farmers who were already struggling with drought conditions in the region.

"Based on the advice I have received from Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff based in the area, the scale of impact is beyond the communities' ability to cope.

"Support is available for farmers who are short of livestock feed, or who have had baleage and fodder crops washed away or damaged by floodwaters."

He said the Government was also considering other recovery measures such as an Enhanced Taskforce Green work programme to assist with clean-up and recovery, rural assistance payments to help farmers with essential living costs, and flexibility through the Income Equalisation Scheme.