In the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle there is obviously a mountain of work required to restore the productive capacity of impacted orchards. The elephant in the room is how this will be funded.
We have had an initial announcement from government around a $25m fund to kick-start efforts to remove silt and support the clean-up. This fund provides for a pay out of up-to $2K/Ha to a maximum of $40K. This is a modest but positive start and I recommend all of those impacted to apply if you haven’t already. It’s a very quick process and we are hearing in many cases that funds are arriving the next day. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions around the application process.
As you can appreciate, everyone is scrambling to assist the recovery, and this includes government. This is leading to some ambiguity in messaging, and we’ve received several queries about why the current fund is capped at $40K/grower. While not formally announced, MPI staff have verbally advised us that if you have more than 20 hectares impacted, you should include this in the application – there are no guarantees that you will receive the full amount but there is potential for larger pay-outs.
As an Association, we are feeding into numerous channels to lobby for you and these efforts will be ongoing. We appreciate the serious financial implications for many, and will be doing all we can to add weight to the conversations our product groups and HortNZ are having with government on your behalf. A key message from us is the time-critical nature of what is required – we need decision makers to realise that big decisions need to be made quickly.