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Flood Support Package Announced

Two hundred Task Force Green workers will be sent immediately to help clean up after the floods in Otago and Southland, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"The 200 Task Force Green workers will be available until Christmas. They will be part of an 'enhanced' package whereby Government will meet the full cost of the workers plus an administration allowance of an additional 15 per cent for overheads and transport.

"The Government will also underwrite the cost of having helicopters on stand-by to deal with frost threat to orchards around Ettrick over the next fortnight while the fruit is at the 'frost-prone' stage.

"These measures were agreed by Cabinet today as part of the help that Government can offer the area.

"Further assistance will be available through normal Government services, including MAF, and the Recovery Plan for Natural Disasters. The Recovery Plan provides central government help in restoring essential services and repairing major infrastructure.

"Transit New Zealand has been working 24 hours a day to re-open highways, deal with slips and replace the bridge over the Haast River. It looks like the cost of road repairs to Transit New Zealand will be upwards of $2 million.

"A small team of senior officials will visit the flooded areas this week to ensure that people are aware of all the Government assistance available.

"Now that the immediate threats to life are over, people will be focussing on the long-term impact of the floods. The families who have lost their houses are the worst affected and all New Zealanders will feel for the predicament they are in.

"For many businesses the floods could not have come at a worse time, just as they were gearing up for the busy holiday period.

"The Government will do everything it can to ensure that these businesses have the help they need to get back on their feet as quickly as possible," Mrs Shipley said.

ENDS

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