Support for farmers, growers, producers and foresters

Central North Island flooding - Support for the primary sector

If you are a farmer, grower, producer or forester affected by flooding and land slips in the hill country in the central/western North Island, support is available to help you through this difficult time.

RURAL SUPPORT TRUSTS

Rural Support Trusts are a nationwide network which assist rural communities and individuals during or after adverse events such as floods and droughts. Rural support trusts in affected areas may:

  • co-ordinate an initial response to an event or a longer term recovery effort
  • provide mentors or colleagues from rural backgrounds to talk over problems
  • advocate for financial assistance
  • provide stress management services.

The trusts’ members are local people who have themselves faced the challenges rural life brings If the trust does not offer particular services themselves, they will put you in touch with appropriate individuals and organisations that can help.

Please refer to www.rural-support.org.nz or call 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) to contact your local trust.

ENHANCED TASK FORCE GREEN

Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) is available for clean-up efforts after this event. Crews can assist with activities such as repairing and clearing fencing and removing tree debris.

Local councils are providing assistance to rural communities affected by the recent flooding and will coordinate the ETFG clean-up teams.

For queries relating to EFTG clean-up of flood damaged rural properties contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).

ANIMAL WELFARE

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, the responsibility for ensuring the health and welfare of animals rests with the owner or the person in charge. Farmers are urged to make timely decisions to avoid problems and to seek advice to ensure they meet the welfare needs of their stock. Advice is available from Federated Farmers, vets, stock and feed agents and farm advisers.

Call the MPI FREEPHONE 0800 00 83 33 to report an animal welfare issue or make a complaint. All calls will be treated in confidence.

COPING WITH STRESS

Adverse events, such as floods, disrupt the normal flow of life. It affects everything usually taken for granted and it is completely normal to feel emotionally down and physically unwell.

You are not alone in feeling this way and you do not have to cope alone either. Local qualified and experienced counsellors are available and will travel to your farm to meet you at no cost.

These services are free and are administered through Victim Support, who has a list of counsellors available in your area. Please call them on 0800 842 846 or contact your nearest police station to speak to your local Victim Support representative, or contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254. VERSION 2 - 7 July 2015

GRAZING AND SUPPLEMENTARY FEED

Flood-hit farmers with stock needing access to grazing, help moving stock, emergency feed, generators, large capacity water pumps or help cleaning up should ring

Federated Farmers' free-phone line (0800 376 844)

TEMPORARY FENCING

Call Federated Farmers (0800 376 844) if you need temporary fencing or are an experienced farmer who can help.

CULVERTS, DRAINS AND TRACKS

Call Horizons Regional Council (0508 800 800) or Taranaki Regional Council (0800 736 222). Note: councils understand that consents and compliance are not your first priority at times like this.

INSURANCE

Lodge your claim with your insurer as soon as possible. If you can’t remember who your insurer is, contact the Insurance Council on 04 472 5230. Wait for your insurer to visit before undertaking any repairs and don’t dispose of any damaged items you may want to claim on before your insurer has seen it. If you can’t live in your house, contact your insurer about temporary accommodation.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR RURAL PEOPLE

Work and Income has a range of assistance available to farmers and farm workers in financial hardship following the June 2015 floods in Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui. The types of assistance are outlined below.

Even if you don’t think you would qualify for these, it’s worth getting in touch. There may be other options available, and Work and Income can point you in the right direction based on your circumstances.

Contact Work and Income by: Visiting www.workandincome.govt.nz Calling 0800 559 009, Visiting a Work and Income Service Centre.

Rural Assistance Payments

Farmers may be eligible to receive Rural Assistance Payments. These payments are available to help farming families whose income is severely affected by the flooding in the areas covered by the following territorial local authorities – the New Plymouth, Stratford, South Taranaki, Ruapehu, Whanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua District Councils and the Palmerston North City Council.

The level of assistance is based on your specific circumstances, but is usually equivalent to the Jobseeker Support benefit. Farmers must meet additional criteria that apply to these payments, including an income test for other significant income, personal (non-farm) assets and cash asset test.

Your local Rural Support Trust coordinator can provide more information about what you may be eligible for and help you with the application process.

Hardship Assistance

There is a range of assistance available from Work and Income for people in hardship. You do not have to be receiving a benefit from us to test your eligibility for this assistance. These payments are generally for urgent one-off items, such as petrol, food, or furniture.

 

Working for Families Assistance

If your income has changed as a result of the floods, you may be eligible to receive extra money through Working for Families. Working for Families is a package designed to help make it easier to work and raise a family. It pays extra money to many thousands of New Zealand families.

The Working for Families package is made up of three components and you may qualify for one or more depending on your personal situation.

1. Working for Families Tax Credits: These are paid to families with children aged 18 years or under to help with the cost of raising a family. They are made up of four types of payments:

  • family tax credit;
  • in-work tax credit;
  • minimum family tax credit;
  • parental tax credit.

2. Childcare Assistance: This can help with the cost of childcare for pre-school and school aged children. It is made up of two types of payments:

  • Childcare subsidy
  • OSCAR subsidy (out of school care).

3. Accommodation Supplement: This can help to make housing more affordable. It can help with the cost of your rent, mortgage, board and other essential household costs. You don’t have to have children to get an accommodation supplement.

To see if you’re eligible for Working for Families, use the online calculators at www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz

You can also call Work and Income for more information on housing and childcare (0800 559 009) and Inland Revenue (0800 227 773) for more information on tax credits.

Civil Defence Payments

These payments are to meet the immediate needs of people who have been affected by the flooding. Civil Defence payments may cover the following costs up to a specified maximum amount:

  • Expenses incurred by anyone billeting people affected by the flooding in private homes, marae or community centres
  • Accommodation costs incurred by people who have to stay in motels, hotels or temporary rental accommodation as a result of being forced out of their homes
  • Loss of livelihood where someone, who has been forced out of their home, can’t work and loses income because of the emergency (e.g. if you can’t get to work, your workplace is closed or you need to remain with your family/whaau)
  • Food, clothing and bedding (immediate needs up to a maximum amount).

If you’re unsure whether the costs of your immediate needs will be covered by insurance, an initial Civil Defence payment to meet your immediate needs may be made. If you get an insurance payment for any costs covered by the Civil Defence payment, you have to refund the amount paid. Contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to talk about your eligibility.

TAX RELIEF

Inland Revenue has the ability to waive the late filing and late payment penalties, and interest to help taxpayers who cannot file and pay on time as a consequence of the recent flooding.

Also Inland Revenue has activated its income equalisation discretion for farmers. Farmers materially affected by the flooding can make early withdrawals from the income equalisation scheme in their 2015-16 tax year. Given how early it is in the 2014-2015 tax return filing season, and noting that most farmers have late balance dates, they will have to apply individually for the discretion to make late deposits.

Once you've dealt with your immediate situation and you find you need help with your tax affairs, contact your accountant, or call us on 0800 473 566, or go to www.ird.govt.nz sooner rather than later so we can help.