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Red Cross Flood Relief Appeal Funds Distribution

18 March 2004

New Zealand Red Cross Flood Relief Appeal Funds Distribution

The trustees of New Zealand Red Cross Flood Appeal, Sir Ron Trotter, (Chair) Sir Rod Weir, Lady Keith, President of New Zealand Red Cross, and Malcolm Bailey finalised the method of distribution today.

Sir Ron said “Payments to those affected by the floods will be in two main forms, one to occupiers of homes severely affected by flooding, the other to farmers whose livelihoods were severely affected by the February floods. The payment is not compensation but rather an “encouragement” from the many donors throughout New Zealand for the stress that this disaster has caused to families”

Letters inviting both groups will be distributed over the next few days explaining the rationale behind the grant, the likely level of funding and the way in which an affected person may apply for a grant.

Until the numbers qualifying and the total funds available are known, the size of payment per farmer cannot be finalised, but it is expected to be from $2,000 to $3,000 dollars. There will be a minimum qualifying loss. All types of farming are eligible and one grant will be made per farming business, which must be the primary source of income.

New Zealand Red Cross will also be making an additional smaller grant to all families (including farming families), whose houses have been destroyed or seriously damaged and those whose houses have been so flooded that they have had to be vacated for a period. This will require a separate application form. This payment is likely to be $250 to $300, again depending on the number of applications received and the level of funding.

New Zealand Red Cross is expecting the Government dollar for dollar grant to greatly enhance the fund appeal level and thus the amount able to be paid to victims. The payment of this dollar for dollar subsidy has not yet been finalised.

Flora Gilkison Director General New Zealand Red Cross said “It is very important we let the people affected by the floods know as soon as possible how the funds so kindly donated by the New Zealand public and businesses will be distributed and when those eligible will receive payment. We are expecting the Government dollar for dollar subsidy, but wanted to get on with the process of distribution as quickly as we could in order to keep the spirits of those affected buoyed and to keep faith with the public who donated money intending it to be sent to flood victims as quickly as possible.”

As New Zealand Red Cross is very aware of the need to get the funds distributed quickly they require the forms to be completed and returned by April 5th.
Depending on the number of applications and processing times New Zealand Red Cross is planning on making a distribution as soon as possible. In reality applicants should start to receive payments shortly after Easter.

The information provided will remain confidential to a New Zealand Red Cross appointed committee who will assist with the verification of the information. The distribution of funds will be audited as part of New Zealand Red Cross compliance requirements.

New Zealand Red Cross will not be deducting any administration costs from the Flood Relief Appeal donations. Lady Keith said “Red Cross relies on the spirit of humanity and voluntary service. Many people have give of their time, expertise and money to help their fellow New Zealanders in this time of distress. They have opened their hearts and their pockets. We will do all we can to keep faith with them”.

Letters with an application form printed on the back will be being sent out to affected people either through rural delivery post, the Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation or Fonterra on Monday. New Zealand Red Cross is going to request local councils to forward letters to those home owners in their areas who were affected by the floods. Letters will also be available at local stock and station agents, banks, councils and on the New Zealand Red Cross website.

ENDS

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