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Extreme Events Need Extreme Action

17 March 2004 PR 69/04

Extreme Events Need Extreme Action

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) is pleased that the government has recognised the enormous scale of the flooding disaster which has hit central New Zealand, said federation President Tom Lambie.

On March 9 the federation put to officials a formal proposal outlining a request for a comprehensive on-farm restoration package in recognition of the unusual and extreme environmental impacts of this event.

The package clearly recognises that landowners must repair the damage to prevent further harm to the environment, including breached riverbanks, erosion, silting, and returning rivers to their previous path.

Restoration must happen quickly to prevent further damage to the environment and to other neighbouring properties.

"There is a strong case for government assistance. No one can deny that farming is by nature risky. Most prudent farmers take this into account in their management and planning. Where available farmers take out insurance and pay substantial rates for expensive flood control schemes", Mr Lambie said.

"But even the most cautious cannot be expected to deal with a greater than a one-in-hundred-year event. Even the most prudent cannot insure, roads, tracks, bridges, fences and culverts. It is not possible to insure against damage caused by water, silt or logs, trees and other items that come hurtling down on your land.

"I note that the government's package is open-ended and talks of $40 million. Time will tell if that level of assistance is sufficient. But if not we will make the appropriate advances on behalf of farming families.

We in particular support this package is an investment for getting highly productive farmland back into operation, which will benefit the regional and national economy."

The federation also welcomes the government's help in repairing damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges used by farmers for access.

Ends

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