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Rural assistance payments to flood victims

26 February 2004 Media Statement

Rural assistance payments to flood victims

The government has increased the rates of emergency payments to disaster victims and approved on-going financial assistance for flood affected farmers in the lower North Island, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Flood affected farmers are now eligible to receive rural assistance payments equivalent to 75 percent of the unemployment benefit for the next 6 months. This assistance can be extended if there is ongoing need.

Payments have also been approved under the Civil Defence Scheme to assist evacuees with their immediate needs. The level of assistance available under this scheme has also been increased to recognise the increase in costs since the rates were last adjusted in 1991.

Steve Maharey said many people living in flood-affected areas have lost everything and need immediate assistance.

“These payments are available for farmers who have been forced off their land as well as those whose income and housing has been affected by the crisis.

“The payments cover housing, clothing and food expenses. The payments can be made without an income or asset test.

“The rural assistance payments will help farmers get through this difficult period and on the road to re-establishing themselves and their properties. The payments recognise that the flooding will have a major impact on farmer’s incomes for some time.

“Farmers who decide against returning to farming and elect to sell their farm, will be eligible to the Unemployment Benefit.

“People who have lost their job due to the flooding may also be eligible for an Emergency Benefit. If they can’t find work for an extended period they will be entitled to the Unemployment Benefit. Any person affected by the flooding, including those not evacuated from their homes, can apply for assistance under the standard hardship programmes.

“For further information about how to access rural assistance, please call the Government Flood Helpline 0800-779-997,” Steve Maharey said.

Carterton District Council Central Hawke’s Bay District Council
Horowhenua District Council Hutt City Council
Kapiti Coast District Council Manawatu District Council
Masterton District Council Rangitikei District Council
South Taranaki District Council South Wairarapa District Council
Tararua District Council Upper Hutt City Council
Wanganui District Council

Maximum amounts payable under the Civil Defence Scheme

Payments to Hosts for Billeting Evacuees (Private Homes, Marae or Community Centres)
Evacuee Maximum Weekly Maximum Daily
Single Adult $125 $17.86
Couple $200 $28.57
Child $62.50 $8.93
[Based on average board costs reported by Accommodation Supplement recipients]

Payments for Accommodation Costs for Evacuees (Motels, Hotels and other paid Accommodation)
Evacuee Maximum Weekly Maximum Daily
Single Adult $665 $95
Couple $665 $95
Couple/Sole Parent (with child/ren)
$840
$120
[Based on a sample of motel daily rates]

Weekly payments for loss of livelihood (Evacuees Billeted)
Evacuee Payment
Single (under 25 years) $101.03
Single (25+) $121.23
Married $202.05
Sole Parent (1 child) $173.65
Sole Parent (2+ children) $189.45
Married (child/ren) $214.71
[Based on 75% of net UB rate]

Weekly payment for loss of livelihood (Evacuees Not Billeted)
Evacuee Payment
Single (under 25 years) $134.70
Single (25+) $161.65
Married $269.40
Sole Parent (1 child) $231.51
Sole Parent (2+ children) $252.60
Married (child/ren) $286.28
[Based on equivalent UB rate]

Additional payments for food and clothing
Evacuee Total Available
Single $400
Married $600
Married/Sole Parent (1-2 children) $900
Married/Sole Parent (3+ children) $1,110
[Based on 2 times the SNG food grant limit]

ENDS

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