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Increased Rural Assistance Payment

Hon Jim Anderton


Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education
16 September 2008 Media Statement

Increased Rural Assistance Payment to provide extra support for farming families in hardship

Farming families experiencing hardship can get extra support following an increase to the Rural Assistance Payment, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton announced today.

The increase which is effective from today sees the Rural Assistance Payment provided by Work and Income, rise from 75% of the applicable Unemployment Benefit to 100%.

Jim Anderton said the Government recognised that some farmers were currently struggling to make ends meet.

"Over recent months farmers have been battered by a variety of adverse weather conditions. Boosting the Rural Assistance Payment will provide some much-needed extra assistance.

"Adverse climatic conditions may improve, but the follow-on impact on land based industries can often be significant and continue for a long period of time. With the series of adverse weather conditions this year- from the nationwide drought earlier, to extreme snow conditions during winter and the more recent floods, applications are still being accepted for Rural Assistance Payments."

Rural Assistance Payments are Special Needs Grants available for farming families whose land-based industries are in financial difficulty due to an adverse event. It applies to families who cannot afford to meet essential living expenses and have no other significant income.

Applicants must also meet additional criteria that apply to these payments, including an income test, personal (non-farm) asset and cash asset test.

Rural Assistance Payments are activated when the Government officially declares an adverse event. According to the Government's adverse event recovery framework, an adverse event must be specified as medium or large scale in order for Rural Assistance Payments to be activated.

Further information on Rural Assistance Payments can be found on the Work and Income website: www.workandincome.govt.nz or Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry website: www.maf.govt.nz .

An application form for Rural Assistance Payment can be found at: www.workandincome.govt.nz or requested by calling 0800 559 009.

Alternatively, farmers can contact their local Rural Support Trust Coordinator

ENDS


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