A further $23 million has been made available to support farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and rural communities as they recover from Cyclone Gabrielle, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced.
“Helping rural communities to get back on their feet as quickly as possible is a priority,” O’Connor said.
“Since we launched the grants in late February we’ve seen strong uptake from farmers and growers, with the number of applications reaching almost 6000 by closing date. We’ve moved at speed with $37m paid out so far and this boost is expected to meet the remaining applications to be processed.
“Having spent time on the ground we knew it was likely there would be more need as people took time to take stock and work through their clean-up from Cyclone Gabrielle, including those in very isolated communities.”
The extra grant funding takes total primary sector cyclone recovery support to $78m to date.
“It enables the government to honour all eligible applications received, which means we can get money into the hands as quickly as possible.”
Applications for the clean-up grants closed on March 20, but those in hard-to-reach areas had until April 3 to apply.
“We understand farmers, growers and other rural businesses are critical to the local economies, providing jobs as well as export revenue for us all,” O’Connor said.
“It’s important they have access to help now to protect future production, for example by saving vital trees, vines and pasture, and making repairs.”