Rural Assistance Payments for struggling farmers

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say lower North Island farmers struggling as a result of recent flooding are now able to access Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs).

RAPs can be activated after a medium-scale adverse event and cover essential living costs when farmers’ income is affected by the event with a payment equivalent to Jobseeker Support.

“We recognise that some farmers are struggling as a direct result of the recent flooding and we want to support them as they work through the clean-up and begin to repair damage,” Mrs Tolley says.

“Many rural people may be reluctant to ask for help, but support is available for those in extreme hardship.

“I encourage anyone struggling as a result of the flooding to get in touch with Work and Income to see what support they may be eligible for.”

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says local Rural Support Trusts will be coordinating with farmers to facilitate RAPs for those in need.

“The Government has allocated an extra $145,000 in funding towards these Trusts who do a great job of working with affected communities to ensure they are getting the support they need. This includes funding for a dedicated Rural Recovery coordinator,” Mr Guy says.

“Last week we also announced $8.8 million in funding grants over four years to help councils tackle hill country erosion.”

Mrs Tolley has also increased funding for Enhanced Taskforce Green from $250,000 to the full $500,000.

“This gives local authorities the option to increase the number of teams from four to eight or extend this support from 14 to 28 weeks,” Mrs Tolley says.

Enhanced Taskforce Green covers wages for workers and supervisors employed by local councils to help with the clean-up operation. Local beneficiaries help with cleaning debris and repairing damaged property, fences and infrastructure.