Concerns $5 million farmer funding not enough

Clarence farmer Sam Murray, of Matariki Farm, says farmers are getting on with the job despite needing stopbank fixes ...
JEFFREY KITT/FAIRFAX NZ

Clarence farmer Sam Murray, of Matariki Farm, says farmers are getting on with the job despite needing stopbank fixes and fence repairs.

Extra funding for farmers impacted by the November earthquake is "peanuts" and will not cover the damage, a farmer says.

Six months on from the disaster and it has been announced Marlborough, Kaikoura and Hurunui farmers will share in a $5 million recovery package over the next three years.

Clarence farmer Rick King said flat paddocks had turned into hills on his sheep, beef and deer farm, 85 kilometres south of Blenheim.

Fencing, irrigation and farm tracks had been damaged and some infrastructure was still waiting to be fixed, King said.

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"We've fixed what we can but there's still a fair bit to do," he said.

Farmland ripped apart near Waipapa Bay.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Farmland ripped apart near Waipapa Bay.

"$5 million doesn't go very far, it's peanuts. I don't think they realise the seriousness of damage around here."

The repair bill to rural Marlborough would be expansive and underinsurance seemed to be a problem for many families, King said.

Getting stock in and out of Clarence had become a logistical nightmare without access to State Highway 1 and further hindered post-quake business, King said.

The slip at Waipapa Bay, which covers State Highway 1.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

The slip at Waipapa Bay, which covers State Highway 1.

It was anticipated the Earthquake Recovery Fund would be used to support projects investigating long-term land use and restoration.

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Exact details of what the fund would, and would not, cover remained to be seen, and King said he would reserve his final judgement until that was announced.

Matariki Farm sheep and beef farmer Sam Murray, of Clarence, said it was good to have a commitment of additional funding for regional areas.

"It's a help, it will go somewhere ... It will definitely be put to good use," he said.

"Things here have gone back to usual, the new usual."

Farmers were getting on with the job despite stopbank fixes and fence repairs still needed, Murray said.

Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy said on Wednesday the rural areas had been severely affected by isolation and erosion on top of three years of drought conditions.

The Government was fully committed to helping the farming sector move forward and flourish in the aftermath of the disaster, he said.

"We'll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with farming communities to get them through," he said.

"We'll be working with scientists, farmers and others to work out what is the proper farming method on some of this land which is earthquake and erosion-prone."

The ministry was working hard with the Chamber of Commerce to provide business assistance packages, Guy said. He encouraged people to come forward with their needs in order to get the region back up and running.

 - The Marlborough Express

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