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Govt Poised To Help Flood-Affected Farmers

17 February 2004

Flood damage hits rural people hard

Floods have hit farmers and growers in Rangitikei, Manawatu, and Wairarapa hard, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said it would take some time before the full cost of the damage could be calculated, but it would be significant, he said.

"There is a time-proven system for Government assistance for farmers during times of adverse climatic events.

"Discussions have been held with Federated Farmers, and they know that I am very sympathetic to the needs of farmers and growers hit by bad weather, drought, or other adverse climatic events."

Mr Sutton said Inland Revenue and the Work and Income sections of government have been working to help southern farmers hit by drought with income equalisation and family income assistance. Such measures could be put in place for those hit by recent flooding.

"Other help is possible, and can be put into place as soon as Federated Farmers representatives in the affected areas feel it is appropriate to ask for it."

Mr Sutton said that during other disasters, the Government has been swift to process applications for help.

"Agriculture is still the boiler room of the economy, so it serves the nation well to minimise the impact of adverse climatic events. Long term, the concern is that global warming is expected to increase both the frequency and severity of such events, which is why the Government and private sector are investing in the scientific search for practical technologies to reduce climate change induced by human activity."

ENDS


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