Terrible damage

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 10:41 19/04/2014

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The Marlborough and Kaikoura rural communities which had have land damaged by this weekend's storm will need help, Kaikoura electorate candidates say.

Kaikoura electorate Labour candidate Janette Walker, who went through from Blenheim to Kaikoura on Good Friday afternoon, said the trip took four hours, double the usual time.

Between Ward and Kaikoura, there was terrible damage, she said.

"There were farms with slips, bridges and culverts washed out. It was worse than Cyclone Bola."

She saw farmers moving stock, but said the farms were "totalled".

There was a huge amount of water, and it was causing the hills to "blow out", regardless of whether they had trees, regeneration, or just grass.

Phones were out.

Walker said farmers in the area would need assistance to get their farms back producing.

National's Kaikoura candidate Stuart Smith drove State Highway 1 on Thursday night just before it was closed and he said longtime farmers told him the damage was similar to that of Cyclone Alison in the 1970s.

Smith said he was worried about the roads. The Government was looking at changing its road funding formula, and this could leave smaller councils, particularly the Kaikoura District Council and the Hurunui District Council, having to cover more costs. After this storm, he was concerned about how quickly the councils would be able to repair their roads and how robust the repairs would be.

The state highway network was covered by the Government, but there were a lot of other roads in those districts that were affected.

The Kekerengu river had blown its banks on both sides, Smith said.

None of the farmers he had spoken to were asking for government assistance yet, but they would need to get out onto their farms and assess the damage. They wouldn't have been able to do that yet, he said.

The need for roading assistance would be greater.

"It's not a great Easter for some."

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- The Marlborough Express

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