Cyclone Hale rural recovery assistance

Update: Inland Revenue has recently set-up an emergency helpline for anyone affected by Cyclone Hale (for example if you have missed payments or filing dates or are struggling to deal with tax affairs due to Hale). The number is 0800 473 566. Any call made to this number will be prioritised.

Wairarapa farmers and growers affected by Cyclone Hale are invited to ask for help if they need it.

Up to $80,000 has been released by the Government to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help with the recovery in the Wairarapa from the considerable damage caused by Cyclone Hale last week.

This follows the announcement of $100,000 to help co-ordinate relief efforts in the Tairāwhiti region.

The Trust’s Wairarapa branch is already taking the lead, working their way around affected communities to assess the need.

Trust team members have met with Civil Defence, Ministry for Primary Industries, local councils, Federated Farmers and transport firms.

They plan to co-ordinate teams of local volunteers to help with fence and silt clearing and recovery next week.

While the funding won’t go directly to individual farmers for repairs or loss of income, the Trust says it will help with co-ordinating community efforts to give practical help to farmers.

Other ways the trust is helping is by providing advocacy for farmers and growers with local councils, banks and insurers; one-on-one support to develop plans and map out current challenges; and lending solar fence units to help stock-proof fences where power is limited.

The Trust can also provide access to an independent insurance agent to help with insurance applications.

If you can help with the clean-up or would like assistance, please contact the Trust at one of the numbers below.

Residents in hard-hit areas are also asked to check on neighbours including smaller holdings and newcomers to the area.

Cyclone Hale was classified as a medium-scale adverse event in the Tairāwhiti and extended to the Wairarapa after storm damage to the region’s eastern coastline, particularly Tora to Tinui.

The classification unlocks assistance such as tax flexibility with Inland Revenue to help farming or forestry businesses even out income fluctuations.

Farmers and growers may have experienced land slips, flood debris and silt (rivers, pasture, fence lines), fallen trees, surface water over arable crops, bruised fruit due to high winds and ongoing loss of road access.

South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly encouraged farmers on the eastern coast of the district not to suffer in silence.

“Rural people are very resilient, and they rally around to support their neighbours when they need assistance. 

“As well as helping your neighbours, please also make sure you are looking after yourselves and your families.  This assistance is New Zealand’s way of supporting you. Please contact the Rural Support Trust so that we can help you take care of yourself and those who depend on you.”

Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor acknowledged the stress the situation was adding to rural families.

“It’s important they receive the help they need to recover from this storm, which follows hard on the heels of other high rainfall events in recent months.”

Smaller landholders who are not commercial farmers or growers but who do need help are encouraged to phone Civil Defence at 0800 239 247.

The contacts for the Rural Support Trust are:

Sarah Donaldson (Area Coordinator) 021 504 089

Lawrence Field (Trustee) 027 787 2521

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