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New Rural Canterbury group plans for the unexpected

Media release

New Rural Canterbury group plans for the unexpected

A dedicated group of rural agencies and individuals has formed a group to represent farmers and growers in future adverse events.

The new Canterbury Primary Industries Adverse Events Cluster Group is leading the integration of agencies in the primary industries, with the Canterbury Civil Defence & Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, to prepare for and respond to adverse events in rural Canterbury.

The Cluster is open to all agencies with involvement in Canterbury primary industries and CDEM. It is led and represented by a Rural Advisory Group (RAG) of the Canterbury Rural Support Trusts, Federated Farmers, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Canterbury CDEM Group, and representatives of each primary sector.

At this week’s second meeting, two co-chairs were unanimously elected. New Zealand Veterinary Association Regional Branch Canterbury representative Júlia Pásztor and North Canterbury Federated Farmers’ Provincial President Lynda Murchison were backed as having the right combination of skills and expertise to represent and communicate on behalf of the rural community in any adverse events, and to move the group forward to meet future challenges.

The RAG will lead the development of Cluster terms of reference, process and relevant documentation, and plan the agenda for full Cluster workshops.

Lynda draws on her experience following the Kaikoura and Hurunui earthquakes when she spearheaded informal coordination and response group Team Ag. “In a disaster or adverse event, the new Cluster Group will mean we are prepared to manage information between farmers and the primary sector with the vital work that CDEM does.

“Over the last seven years as we have been hit by several adverse events, it has become clear that we have a role to play in helping Civil Defence respond to the needs of the rural community. Our strong networks have already proven that we can work together on a better-coordinated response for our rural communities,” says Lynda.

Júlia currently contracts to MPI and by night volunteers at a wildlife hospital.

“In my initial experience of disasters, there are always calls for vets to come and assist, whether for companion or stock animals. I’m honoured to be elected as co-chair and excited that I can be in a position to help as we face future challenges that can impact not only on human welfare but also on animals.”

MPI is facilitating the setup of similar groups throughout NZ so that when there is a disaster or event, CDEM can tap into the resource for the rural response.

Usually led by a partnership between the regional CDEM Group, MPI and Rural Support Trusts, most have a core group of around ten people, with a much wider group coming together a couple of times a year. It’s different in each region, but so far Rural Groups can include (and are not limited to):

• CDEM Group: Group Welfare Manager, Emergency Management Officers, Local Welfare Managers, Group Manager and Group Controller

• Ministry for Primary Industries

• Rural Support Trust

• Federated Farmers

• Primary Industry groups: DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, & other groups (horticulture, deer, goats, pork, poultry)

• Animal welfare groups: SPCA, NZVA, Council Animal Control

• Rural Women NZ, Dairy Woman’s Network, Young Farmers

• Regional and district councils

• Rural companies: Dairy companies, meat companies, livestock agents, the Primary ITO

• Rural contractors, Transport representatives

• Department of Conservation, Ministry of Social Development.


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