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Farmers Face Devastating Losses

Farmers Face Devastating Losses

Financial losses stemming from flooding in the lower half of the North Island are expected to be significantly higher than early estimates, said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"Our members and staff are informing us of devastating losses to stock, pastures, farm houses and farming infrastructure," Mr Lambie said. "The damage is much worse than first feared."

An updated estimate that the flood would cause $100 million in damage is closer to reality but might still be too low," he said.

"Information is still sketchy but we are hearing reports that some farmers have lost nearly everything -- their herds, fences, pastures, and milking sheds, and have had water running through their houses.

"Other farmers have had to be rescued by helicopter from roofs, and have yet to return to their homes to survey the damage."

Stock losses are expected to run into the thousands. A typical cow is worth about $800 to $1000.

"But on top of that is the cost of pasture regeneration, new crops, new fencing, replacing drains and bridges, clearing rubbish, and cleaning silt from farm houses

"These are assets that help in generating incomes which will take years to return to previous levels.

Mr Lambie said that some of the flooded land is among the most fertile and productive in New Zealand. Vegetable and fruit growers have also been hard hit.

"We strongly urge local councils and the government to recognise the extent of the damage and provide the appropriate level of assistance."

Further to an earlier media release, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) advises farmers seeking flood assistance to ring 0800 FFLOOD (0800 335 663).

Farmers and others wanting to offer help should send an email to flooding@fedfarm.org.nz,.

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