Aid desperately needed for Canterbury farmers

News that the Minister for Primary Industries may be paying Canterbury a visit tomorrow is welcome – but, if and when he does come, he better be prepared to write cheques, rather than just take photos, MP for Selwyn Nicola Grigg says.

“Some of our hill country farmers have now had over 400mm of rain since Sunday and the damage has been immense. There are literally miles of roads, bridges and fences that have been destroyed and many still can’t get access to their stock.

“Across the region farmers have watched their crops and pasture drown and their livelihoods get swept out to sea. Many are already physically and mentally exhausted and the clean-up hasn’t even begun – and the ramifications will be felt for the next year with winter feed supplies lost, pasture lost, and animal fertility likely impacted.

“Federated farmers and other rural representative groups are beginning a needs assessment process so they can then triage resources and volunteers, but the most pressing issues are rebuilding road access and securing feed supplies.

“With the expected arrival of Minister Damien O’Connor, I hope he is coming prepared to offer a fulsome financial support package that will cover significant infrastructure repairs, rather than just the usual welfare and financial advisory support.

“Earlier today I called on him to pull all the levers he has available – after all, he does belong to a Government that has - apparently - recently discovered it is the primary production sector that has been keeping New Zealand’s economy afloat in the past year.

“So now it’s time for the Government to put its money where its mouth is and show our farmers and growers the country is behind them in their hour of need,” Ms Grigg says.