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Recovery team goes back to the government for help

For immediate release

Recovery team goes back to the government for help

Gisborne’s flood recovery team will ask Government to reconsider last week’s decision not to provide financial assistance to flood-stricken growers and land-owners.

Recovery manager John Clarke says that the flooding of the past three days has put pressure on newly-planted crops, caused widespread surface flooding and saturated the ground. High winds added to the problems.

“If the Labour Weekend flood event left a hole in the region’s economy, the rain over the past four days has widened that hole into a drop-out.

“A lot of the crops replanted after the Labour Weekend flooding will have suffered further damage. And the window of opportunity for replanting will be lost completely this time. It will simply be too late.”

In the past three days between 200 and 250mm of rain fell in the hillcountry north of Gisborne with the highest 305mm inland from Tolaga Bay.

On the Gisborne Flats, up to 160mm fell with 200mm at Te Karaka where residents were put on standby to evacuate last night because of rising river levels.

“We will be going back to the Government to put our case again. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said the Government wanted to hear from us if circumstances changed. Our view is that circumstances have definitely changed. I will need to be convinced that the two events combined are not an event of national significance or that the region can reasonably be expected to recover on its own.

“This time around I will want assurances from Government that any request for assistance will be viewed positively. I don’t think it’s fair to ask growers to provide further details nor is it fair for us to put huge effort into our request, for them to string a response out for five weeks and then tell us ‘no’.

“This time, it is not just the severe financial impact of the flooding. The mental effect on landowners and growers can’t be underestimated. For that reason it’s important we get some clear direction sooner rather than later.”

ENDS

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