Help For Marlborough Farmers

New Zealand Government Media Release

4 January 2001

The Government would act swiftly to help Marlborough farmers hit by fire, Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Federated Farmers national office was compiling a formal request for assistance to address farmers' needs which would be dealt with promptly, he said.

"The Government is extremely sympathetic to the affected farmers. This is a shocking blow to farming businesses that are still affected by the aftermath of serious drought."

Mr Sutton said counselling services had already been made available, and the community was rallying around those particularly affected by the fires.

"A lot of farmers were uninsured or under-insured. However, grazing and hay has been made available for surviving stock. Taking care of stock is not an immediate issue."

"There is heavy damage to fences, and water pipes up to 30 centimetres underground have been destroyed by the intensity of the fires.

"There have been generous offers of help from farmers around New Zealand. But with a nation-wide shortage of experienced fencing contractors, following years of low meat and wool incomes, there will probably be a need for Government input to help co-ordinate effective assistance on the ground."

For more information, contact:

Cathie Bell on 04 4719855 or 025 998467

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33