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Telford students to help with fencing after Waiho Bridge

Unprecedented flooding in Franz Josef on March 26 washed away the Waiho Bridge leaving many farmers on the Southside struggling to re-establish fences and restore land.

Although they have received some help, Southside farmer Peter Dennehy says the lack of labour continues to be a problem.

New Zealand First MP and party spokesperson for Agriculture and Primary Industries, Mark Patterson has stepped in to offer assistance.

Based in Lawrence, and a farmer himself, he has been a regular visitor to the Coast and Franz Josef, and has close connections with the Southern Institute of Technology’s Telford campus in Balclutha.

Patterson has requested help from both Telford staff and students advising Westland Mayor Bruce Smith yesterday that a van load of students will arrive at the Southside of the Waiho to lend a hand for the week.

Following a request by Patterson and Mayor Smith for beds, food and a van for the students, the community rallied and within just two hours beds, food, and a van were donated by the Scenic Circle group of Heartland Hotels, Logan Skinner and other donators to cover costs.

Patterson said Telford had a long and proud history of helping the rural sector in times of need, and this is one of those times.

Clutha is the home of Telford and Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said having worked, sheared, owned a farm, sold real estate and owned a business in the province that he knows what it is like to have your back to the wall.

“Talk does not pay bills, so I hope to be there to help Monday.”

Mayor Smith said that the people of the Southside have been feeling very deserted and this generous offer will be a great help and raise moral.

“If there are any farmers out there that want to donate a days labour, head for the Southside of the Waiho Monday to Friday of next week.”

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