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MP’s uninformed attack doesn’t faze Northland farmers

Media Release


21 July 2014

MP’s uninformed attack doesn’t faze Northland farmers

While disappointed by the uninformed comments of Hone Harawira MP, Northland’s storm hit farmers appreciate the support of fellow farmers, industry good bodies, utility providers and the efforts of central and local government. Above all, the Rural Support Trust.

“It’s disappointing to have an MP engage mouth before brain but its par for the course these days,” says Roger Ludbrook, Federated Farmers Northland President.

“The Mayoral Relief Fund isn’t for farmers but is to help out the poorest and most vulnerable in our community who have literally lost all but the clothes on their back. From what I have seen the focus of Civil Defence has been on helping people.

“I need to point out that the only way for a farmer to get public support is to literally lose their farm. A Rural Assistance Payment is basically the dole rebadged and carries the same eligibility rules.

“If Mr Harawira just asked, he’d see how the farming community comes together regardless of whether you are Maori or Pakeha. Federated Farmers helped to put the call out for feed and grazing and even donations with the Rural Support Trust coordinating this to the farms in need.

“The Rural Support Trust operates on the smell of an oily rag and in an emergency does receive additional public funding, but that’s to enable them to offer counselling and farm advisory services. Not cash.

“We’ve also got our industry good bodies, like DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb, now offering their advisory services to help farms recover. These are completely funded from farmer levies while Northland’s veterinarians are assisting in relief efforts too.

“We’ve got no complaints from the way Northpower and Top Energy have busted a gut without fear or favour to who they reconnected. The same goes to Vodafone and Telecom who have kept us on the line despite atrocious weather.

“While I imagine we’ll be having discussions with some councils in the coming weeks, their crews went above and beyond the call of duty to keep the roads open and to reopen damaged roads.

“In that regard, we’re overjoyed that the Government’s emergency roading fund should cover over 90 percent of the cost in reinstating storm damaged roads. Federated Farmers applauds the Government’s quick response in promising this to Northland councils.

“Instead of complaining, the community has come together because we all want to get back to farming as that helps to generate the income our region needs,” Mr Ludbrook concluded.


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