The government has more than doubled the size of the recovery fund for cyclone-affected farmers.
A further $26 million has been added to the initial $4m rural community recovery fund and the $25m fund that is helping farmers and growers with post-cyclone clean-up – taking total primary sector support to $55 million.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the funding extended the help available through the $25m farmer and grower grant package announced in February.
“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 $17.4m 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-19 we need to be nimble, flexible and responsive to immediate needs.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the priority is helping rural communities to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“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.
Applications for the clean-up grants are open until March 20, 2023, but those in hard-to-reach areas can apply up until April 3.
Farmers and growers who have already received Ministry for Primary Industries clean-up grants are not eligible to apply again.