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Speedy Flood Action Welcomed

Speedy Flood Action Welcomed

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) has welcomed speedy government aid for farmers and others caught in this week's flooding, said Federation President Tom Lambie.

"I look forward to seeing more detail on the package, but in the meantime I am pleased at the government's fleet-footed acknowledgment of the devastation caused by the flood," said Mr Lambie.

Elements of the package worth noting are the activation of enhanced Task Force Green to help clean up, the provision of six agricultural coordinators, and the activation of the MAF Rural Sector Assistance Special Needs Grants and Rural Support Trust Counselling.

An area of concern is the absence of detail on government help in restoring power to and communications with farms.

"We will be seeking to clarify to what extent the government will help to restore power and phone lines, or assist with communications to outlying areas," he said.

Assistance for infrastructure run by local councils such as water supply and sewerage is important for towns, but would not necessarily help farmers.

The government's package will add to assistance by companies, councils, and organisations such as Federated Farmers.

The federation yesterday set up a freephone line (0800 FFLOOD or 0800 335 663) for farmers seeking help, and an email address (flooding@fedfarm.org.nz) for farmers and others offering assistance.

"We have so far received about 100 offers of help from all over the North Island, Nelson and Canterbury. The offers include hay, baleage (baled silage), transport, grazing, milking, accommodation, gas equipment and dog food. We are endeavouring to link these very kind offers to the people in need," Mr Lambie said.

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