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Government aid to stricken Wairarapa orchardists

Government aid to stricken Wairarapa orchardists

The Government has given Wairarapa orchardists hit by severe hailstorms a grant of up to $48,000, including the provision of Taskforce Green workers to pick hail-damaged fruit from trees in the affected orchards, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the assistance, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's adverse events budget and the Department of Work and Income, would enable growers to ensure their orchards could remain healthy and productive in the future.

The assistance comprises of: · $3000 for technical assistance; · $5000 to the East Coast Rural Support Trust, for advocacy and support services; and · up to $40,000 for Taskforce Green workers.

Nine orchards, a boysenberry grower, and a vineyard were severely damaged by hail on January 7.

Mr Sutton said he knew how devastating it was when hail went through an orchard.

"The object of this Government assistance is to clean up after the event. The apples have to be picked close to maturity for reasons of disease control. The Taskforce Green allocation should enable orchardists to deal with that.

"There will be further reporting to Government on the possible need for family income support under the Rural Sector Assistance Scheme, and monitoring of the adequacy of the Taskforce Green assistance."

ENDS

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