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Time to be more prepared for adverse weather

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has completed a draft review of the On-farm Adverse Events Recovery Framework.

Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton, said the aim of the review and its associated public consultation paper was to promote a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of central government, local government and the primary production sector in preparing for, and recovering from, adverse events.

"MAF has already received significant and constructive input from industry groups and local government into the development of a discussion document that is due to be released later this month.

The next step is to hear from those who are "hands-on" in the primary, productive industries about how the current recovery measures are working, as well as how they could be improved or supplemented by other initiatives," Jim Anderton said.

"One of the underlying themes of the input to date has been the importance of having a clear and well-communicated adverse events framework to assist government, public and private sector organisations, communities and individuals understand their roles in preparing for, and recovering from, adverse events.

"Recent weather events have given us pause for thought. We've just seen the coldest June since 1972, with heavy snows wreaking havoc in the south.

"All of us – central government, local government, industry, communities and individuals – need to do everything we can to reduce our vulnerability and build our resilience to adverse weather events and other natural disasters.

"New Zealand farmers, growers and foresters have always faced risk from adverse weather events, and managing climatic risk is inherent in primary production industries. Now, however, we also face the impact of accelerated climate change. We need to plan for bigger, more intense and more frequent adverse weather events.

"The discussion document, which sets out some policy options, will be a significant step towards defining our roles. I am confident it will help stimulate debate on the importance of community adverse events planning and help build more resilient rural communities. But we need the people with the experience and expertise of adverse weather events to contribute to the discussion to make our policy framework more effective and comprehensive.

"I encourage those working in the primary sector industries to consider the options raised in the discussion paper on its release and to send feedback to MAF in time for the closing of submissions on 31 October 2006.

"MAF will also be holding public consultation meetings during October and the discussion document will be distributed widely through industry organisations and will be on the MAF website," Jim Anderton said.


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