Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the storm damage around the the Franklin Ward, Hauraki District and Thames-Coromandel District as a medium scale adverse event.
“The damage here is significant and the recovery phase will be a challenge for some badly affected farms,” says Mr Guy, who visited a storm-damaged farm at Kawakawa Bay today.
“The impact of the Tasman Tempest storm brought heavy rainfall ranging from 350 to 850mm, and is estimated to have been a one in 80 year event.
“Farmers in the Franklin Ward don’t get heavy rainfall as often, and say they’ve not seen anything like this since the 1960s. The more hilly areas have a lot of slips, debris and broken fences, and the flatter areas around Clevedon and Whitford suffered from floodwaters and silt.
“Hauraki-Coromandel farmers were well prepared and are used to heavy rain, but there is still a lot of silt and debris to clean-up. Some farmers have lost livestock and supplementary feed where it was stored in paddocks. However there was also a large enough break in the rainfall for Fonterra to collect milk and prevent losses.
“The Northland region experienced some heavy localised rain, enough to break the drought, and the farming community is generally coping well.
“Extra funding will now be available if required to coordinate support through the Waikato Rural Support Trust who are already on the ground with Federated Farmers assessing needs to help plan recovery activities.
“MPI is also working with the Ministry of Social Development to activate Enhanced Taskforce Green, volunteer workers, and in extreme cases there may also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.”
Throughout the storm and its aftermath, the Ministry for Primary Industries has been working with local agri-business groups, the Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers and councils to ascertain the impact of the flooding on the rural communities. Young Farmers have also offered to help in the recovery efforts.
Farmers are urged to contact the Waikato Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURALHELP, their industry body, their accountant, or Work and Income, to talk through their needs.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming a funding grant of $1.37 million for Hunter Downs Water from Crown Irrigation Investments announced today.
“This development grant funding will be used by Hunter Downs Water to complete the next stage of its programme as it works toward becoming construction ready,” says Mr Guy.
Hunter Downs Scheme is a farmer and community led scheme with the capacity to irrigate 21,000ha in an area located between Waimate and Timaru in South Canterbury.
“This grant is an important step forward for this project which could have major benefits for the South Canterbury region.
“The environmental and recreational benefits from this project include increased flows in surface waterways and in the Wainono Lagoon, protection of mudfish habitats and improved game bird and trout habitats.
“Irrigation schemes in other parts of the country have brought real economic and environmental gains. A reliable source of water gives certainty to farmers and growers, helps them plan ahead and deal with droughts and dry spells.”
The scheme has been granted consents with rigorous environmental protections and will support a variety of land uses including beef, arable, horticulture and dairy. Water will also be available for town supplies in Timaru and Waimate.
All decisions by Crown Irrigation Investments are made by an experienced, independent board. Strict conditions have to be met including sound governance and matched funding.
More information is available at:
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has attended the world’s largest food tradeshow in Dubai today, as annual two-way trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries exceeds $3.2 billion.
“This visit is an opportunity to strengthen our business and trade links between GCC countries and New Zealand by shining the spotlight on our world-class products,” says Mr Guy.
Gulfood is a five-day food show and provides a platform for New Zealand companies to impress 95,000 visitors expected to visit the 5000 stands from more than 120 countries.
“Food and beverage is an important part of our trading relationship, built upon the complementarity of New Zealand’s high quality food offering and many Gulf countries’ food security needs.”
Mr Guy also spoke at a function with over 200 people including New Zealand exporters, local importers and distributors and leading representatives from the hospitality industry.
New Zealand has traditionally been associated with dairy and meat exports but the list of available food products in the United Arab Emirates retail sector continues to grow, rising from thirteen products in 2013, to ninety in 2017.
“A number of our businesses already have a strong presence in this market and are doing exceptionally well selling New Zealand food and beverage products. My visit is aimed at opening doors and helping to further promote New Zealand companies.”
New Zealand’s presence at Gulfood signals the importance of our relationships with the UAE, Gulf countries and the wider region. Finalising the New Zealand GCC Free Trade Agreement is an important next step to enhancing our trade, including food and beverage, even further.
During his visit Mr Guy will also meet with UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment, HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, and UAE Minister of State, HE Rashid Fahad, to discuss food standards and safety.
These meetings will highlight many areas of future cooperation between New Zealand and the UAE, in particular investment in agritech, water management and food security.
New Zealand companies attending Gulfood 2017 include Fonterra, Tegel, Taylor Preston, Lowe Corporation, ANZCO Foods, NIG Nutritionals, Milkio, NZ Dairy Company, Open Country Dairy and Spring Sheep.
Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy has witnessed an agreement in Tehran enabling the resumption of sheep and beef exports to Iran, and witnessed Zespri signalling its willingness to explore the development of the kiwifruit market.
“This is a crucial step for New Zealand meat companies as they look to re-enter the Iranian market," says Mr Guy.
The conclusion of a Meat Arrangement between the Iranian Veterinary Organisation (IVO) and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries provides the conditions for chilled and frozen sheep and beef exports to resume with Iran, the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The agreement was witnessed with Iranian Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati during their meeting in Tehran yesterday. The Ministers also discussed an action plan for agricultural cooperation in the year ahead.
Ministers Guy and Hojjati also witnessed the signing of a Statement of Intent between Zespri and Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture acknowledging the potential of the Iranian market as a large fruit consuming and growing country.
"Current import conditions mean that New Zealand is unable to export kiwifruit to Iran. However the letter of intent outlines undertakings to further explore commercial opportunities in Iran."
Iran has well established kiwifruit orchards and supply chains, and operates in a counter seasonal supply window to New Zealand.
"This visit is an important opportunity to strengthen our agricultural relationship, following the signing of an Agricultural Cooperation Arrangement last year.
“Iran has traditionally been an important market for New Zealand agricultural exporters, particularly dairy, and this visit has identified areas in which we can diversify these commercial ties and further technical cooperation."
Primary Industries Minister departs for Iran and the United Arab Emirates today on a trip to build closer trading relationships.
“Iran has been an important trading partner for New Zealand in the past and there is great opportunity to increase our two-way trade. This is an exciting step for New Zealand companies who are working with importers in Iran,” says Mr Guy.
“This will be the third ministerial visit to Iran in 12 months and reflects the growing importance of this relationship. This is an opportunity to strengthen our agricultural relationship, following the signing of an Agricultural Cooperation Arrangement in 2016.”
Mr Guy is also attending Gulfood, the world’s largest food tradeshow being held in Dubai
“Over ten New Zealand exporters will be attending this major event which is attended by global buyers.”
The trip also involves bilateral meetings with members of the UAE Government in Dubai.
Accompanying Mr Guy on the trip is a business delegation including representatives from Fonterra, the Meat Industry Association and Zespri.
Mr Guy departs today and returns to New Zealand on 2 March.
New freshwater reforms will result in 56,000 km more fences protecting New Zealand waterways from stock – enough to go round the world one and a half times, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The new rules on stock exclusion are part of the Government’s plans announced today setting a target for 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040.
“Farmers have made huge progress in recent years to improve their environmental practices and this will be another important step forward. Dairy farmers have already voluntarily fenced off over 24,000km of waterways,” says Mr Guy.
“We know that stock standing in or regularly crossing waterways can do significant damage. While dairy farmers have voluntarily fenced off around 96% of their waterways, we want to extend this to other types of farms as well.
“The proposed national regulation would ensure that dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs and deer are kept out of waterways.
“We need to ensure the changes are practical for farmers, so the exclusions would be implemented in a staged process starting this year through to 2030, depending on the stock type and land slope.
“There are long term benefits for the primary industries and wider economy from these reforms. Overseas markets and consumers increasingly demand a strong environmental performance over and above regulatory requirements. In this context, protecting New Zealand’s natural advantage has never been more important.
“No single organisation or group is solely responsible for improving our water quality. Meeting the target will take a collective effort, but the primary industries have a key contribution to make.
“In the meantime, the Ministry for Primary Industries continues to work with the primary sectors to invest in good ideas which promote environmental best practice. One example is the Farm Systems Change program, which identifies high preforming farms and uses farmers’ networks to spread their knowledge.
“Another is a major programme under the Primary Growth Partnership, called Transforming the Dairy Value Chain. Under this programme effluent management systems have been improved, and every region now has a riparian planting guideline developed in conjunction with regional councils.
“As a Government we are committed to growing the primary industries at the same time as improving water quality. Water storage schemes like Central Plains Water and the Waimea Community Dam help in this by taking pressure off groundwater sources and maintaining summer river flows, delivering both economic and environmental benefits.
“We also know that science will play a major role in improving our freshwater. The ‘Our Land and Water’ National Science Challenge is investing $96.9 million over 10 years into this, hosted by AgResearch and involving six other Crown research institutes.
To read the proposals, and find out how to have your say, visit www.mfe.govt.nz
A new study released today on the use of reticulated stock water systems shows major environmental and economic gains for farmers, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
“This is the first study that has ever been done to quantify the benefits of installing an on-farm stock water system on hill country, and it shows excellent results,” says Mr Guy.
The study involved investment analysis of 11 hill country sheep and beef farms across New Zealand who had invested in stock water systems on their properties.
“The analysis showed a significant return on investment for all of the properties. The average Internal Rate of Return was 45 per cent and on some farms was as high as 85 per cent. On average the time it took to repay the initial investment was just 3 years.
“Without fail, every single farmer who took part in the study said their investment was a good decision. They found it helped cope with drought conditions and enabled them to better graze hill country areas. This has meant improved pasture utilisation and production, as well as improved stock numbers and stock performance.
“Providing stock with alternative drinking sources reduced pressure on waterways and allowed environmental improvements that couldn’t otherwise be made. Waterways, wetlands and dams were able to be fenced off while riparian strips were planted and regeneration programmes instated.
“One of the unquantified benefits was the greater peace of mind as they didn’t have to worry about animals getting stuck in dams during dry periods.
“Thanks to all the farmers involved who so generously shared their experiences and knowledge to help other farmers.”
The report was jointly funded as a Regional Economic Development initiative by MPI, MBIE and Beef+Lamb NZ.
The full report is available at http://www.mpi.govt.nz/growing-and-producing/stock-water/
Applications for funding from the primary industries Earthquake Relief Fund have been extended for an extra month, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“A number of locals have told me they need more time to gather information, so this extension to 31 March will make sure that everyone eligible has the opportunity to apply for a grant,” says Mr Guy.
The $4 million Earthquake Relief Fund is for uninsurable infrastructure repairs in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts affecting farmers and others in the primary sector.
“In any normal year farmers and growers have a really busy time on the farm over summer. With the earthquake that has been compounded by assessing and repairing damage to family homes and buildings.
“Combined with EQC and home insurance claims which have a deadline of the 14th of this month, some people were feeling the time pressure. This will give more time to estimate the work needed to repair uninsurable infrastructure such as access tracks and pasture.”
Local earthquake recovery coordinators, working with the Rural Support Trusts, have held well-received small workshops to guide farmers on their applications and these will also be extended.
Any grants will be a contribution towards repairs, covering a maximum of 50% of costs. There will be an excess of $5,000 and capped at $50,000 per applicant.
Farmers who need an extra hand on the farm as a result of November’s earthquake and aftershocks can also call 0800 FARMING (327 646) and have their needs matched with skilled workers and volunteers. A further $600,000 has been allocated to run this programme for the next four months.
More information and the application form is on http://www.marlborough.govt.nz/Services/Emergency-Management/Emergency-Events/EQ2016/PIERF.aspx
More on the Earthquake Relief Fund
The funding may only be allocated in the form of a grant to help pay for costs associated with:
- Restoring uninsurable primary sector infrastructure
- Re-establishing uninsurable pasture (on cultivatable land only), crops, and forestry
- Initial clean-up of silt and debris (where uninsurable)
- This could include: some on-farm access roads, tracks, races, bridges without sides, dams and reservoirs, as these are generally uninsurable.
- Priority will be given to essential repairs to continue farming, such as roadside boundary fencing; boundary fencing; access tracks and stock water supplies.
- Any grant will be a contribution towards repairs, up to a maximum of 50% of the cost.
- The damage must exceed $12,000 in total for you to be considered for assistance.
- An excess of $5000 will be deducted from the 50% that is eligible for funding. The amount awarded may be adjusted if eligible funding requests exceed the $4 million available.
- The maximum any one entity could receive from the Fund is $50,000.
- Funding may be available where the cost of repairs (e.g. to fences, water reticulation) exceeds the limited cover provided by insurance. Applicants will need to deduct any insured amount that can be claimed from insurers.
- Funding is not available for repairs that can be insured, but were not.
- For more information on your options talk to your local Rural Support Trust.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the drought conditions in Northland as being a medium-scale adverse event.
“This is recognition of the extreme dry conditions farmers and growers are facing, and triggers additional Government support,” says Mr Guy.
“Extra funding will now be available if required to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases there will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.”
The announcement follows a request from local groups including the Northland Rural Support Trust and advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries who have been closely monitoring conditions.
“Farmers have been working hard and preparing for these conditions, but things are getting tough and there is little rain forecast for the next couple of weeks.
“There is significant soil moisture deficits, low pasture covers, low supplementary feed, and maize crops have struggled.
“Inland Revenue will also be exercising its income equalisation discretion to help provide flexibility and relief for drought-affected farmers.
“Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available.
“Once again this reinforces the importance of irrigation and water storage. Last year Crown Irrigation Investments announced $165,000 to scope irrigation scheme options in Northland, and in 2015 MPI contributed $75,000 towards a report examining the potential of irrigation here.”
“The Government is also keeping a very close eye on many parts of the East Coast of the North Island and supporting North Canterbury in their recovery.”
Mr Guy made the announcement today while visiting a dairy farm near Kerikeri.
Criteria for classifying a medium scale adverse event
- There are three levels of ‘adverse events’ – localised, medium and national. These can cover events like drought, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
- The criteria for assessing the scale of an adverse event are:
- Options available for the community to prepare for and recover from the event;
- Magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of physical impact), and;
- Capacity of the community to cope economically and socially impact.
- North Island dry conditions February 2017.jpg (jpg 2.57 MB)
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have praised the progress of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, one year on from its launch.
The action plan has been developed and led by the Northland Regional Governance Group and is part of the Government’s Regional Growth Programme. It identifies over 50 actions to support and enable growth in Northland.
“Significant work has been undertaken in the past year and we are starting to see the economic and social benefits of this across the region,” Mr Bridges says.
“The plan is moving forward in several key areas such as digital technology with more than $33 million being invested Northland’s ultra-fast broadband roll-out and the region’s digital enablement plan complete.
“It has also been successful in supporting young people. The Kaikohe Growth Industries Pathway program has a number of Northland youth on a pathway to employment, and the Tai Tokerau Resort College helping ensure there are skilled people to support the booming local tourism industry.”
Mr Guy says several initiatives that enable Northlanders involved in the primary sector to make the most of their businesses are making headway.
“Extension 350 is well underway. This new initiative sees clusters of dairy farms working together and receiving expert business direction advice.
“The Māori Forestry Collective for Tai Tokerau is now formed and the lessons from a completed prototype planting of 505 hectares will support the next phase of the group’s work.”
Mr Bridges says these are just a few examples of the work being done in the region.
“Now is a good time to take stock and reflect on the achievements made so far and to refresh the plan to ensure it still reflects Northland’s aspirations.”
For more information on the Regional Growth Programme, visit http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme.