Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Initiative

facebook-agstaff-keq-480x480v1The Government through MPI is funding skilled on-farm workers to assist with recovery from the Earthquake.
Contact 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) to lodge requests for help on the farm, or to offer your help as a volunteer or worker. This includes worker contracts, health and safety induction and training, and coordinating travel and logistics.

 

 

Assistance and support available for earthquake-affected farmers, growers and fishers in the Marborough, Kaikoura and Hurunui districts.

Press release: kaikoura-eq-mpi-updates-26-jan – Ministry of Primary Industries

The Skilled worker initiative.
Government has provided $600k to fund skilled on-farm workers and volunteers to assist with recovery from the earthquake up to 31 May 2017.
Contact 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) to lodge requests for help on the farm, or to offer your help as a volunteer or skilled worker.
Earthquake Relief Fund for uninsurable damage to primary industries.
Government has announced $4 million towards a primary industries earthquake relief fund for uninsurable infrastructure repairs as a result of the 14 November 2016 earthquake. All earthquake affected farmers, fishers and growers in the Hurunui, Kaikōura and Marlborough districts can apply
for a grant, which may contribute towards repairs but will not completely cover costs for:

  • 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: 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.

  • You don’t have to have repairs completed before applying for a grant.
  • Due to the large quantity of damage the earthquake caused, the total cost of repairs is expected to be greater than the $4 million available. People are advised to make any repairs you can afford now rather than waiting and expecting to receive a grant.
  • Any grant will be a contribution towards repairs, up to a maximum of 50% of the cost.
  • 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 (for example 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.

How to apply

  • The application form and more information is available on the Marlborough District Council website. Keep or estimate any evidence or information you have about the cost of repairs, and that they are uninsurable. Fill in the application form and send it by email or post.

Where can I get help with my application?

  • If you do not know if your repairs are insured or not, you will need to talk to your insurer.
  • Workshops are being held to go through the application process. If you have any questions contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).

When will I find out if I am successful?

  • Decisions will be made by 31 March 2017 and you will be advised of the outcome of your application shortly after. In some urgent cases you may be contacted before the deadline.

Temporary Accommodation
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE’s) temporary accommodation service is available for people in both rural and urban areas whose primary residence has been damaged by the earthquake. MBIE uses undamaged private market accommodation and looks at solutions when there is no supply.

Specifically for farmers, Rawhiti Domain Units will be offered for sale to earthquake-hit farmers for their residual book value of around $25,000 (plus costs of relocation, services, consents). Of 20 units, 13 are available now.

Farmers needing any form of temporary accommodation or interested in a unit should register at www.temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz or call 0800 673 227 as soon as possible.

Flexible tax arrangements
Flexible tax arrangements are available in some cases if you’ve been affected by the earthquake, including:

  • late deposits and early withdrawals for affected farmers and fishers
  • waiving interest and penalties for late filing and payments of tax
  • GST exemption for Ministry of Social Development (MSD) pay-outs to employers.

Talk to your accountant for details, or contact Inland Revenue via their website or phone 0800 473 566.

Road access and travel
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is managing all roads in and around the affected areas. For more information, see the NZTA website or contact the NZTA on 0800 44 44 49 or email EQSHRoadInfo@nzta.govt.nz

The Earthquake Commission and home insurance
Customers have until 14 February 2017 to lodge a claim with their private insurer which is also passed to EQC. Where customers have already lodged home building or contents claims with EQC, these will be passed onto their insurer by EQC so there is no need for people to make another call.
You can contact the EQC on 0800 DAMAGE (0800 32 62 43).
Other resources available to those who need them

  • Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP for a free, private and confidential chat. A Trust representative can come to see you and, if needed, point you in the right direction for further help.
  • The Government Helpline is open for calls about all government support available, on 0800 77 99 97 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
  • If your circumstances have changed as a result of the earthquake, talk to your accountant, bank, and Work and Income to see other help for which you may be eligible.

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/adverse-events/kaikoura-earthquake/

On-farm earthquake recovery initiative launches

25 JANUARY, 2017

Farmers who need an extra hand on the farm as a result of November’s earthquake and aftershocks can call 0800 FARMING (327 646) and have their needs matched with skilled workers and volunteers.

“As we move from the response to recovery phase, some farmers and growers will need skilled hands to get back to pre-quake operational levels,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“For example, many farmers have suffered damage to key infrastructure such as fences and water reticulation systems. This kind of infrastructure requires experienced labour to get back up and running,” says Mr Guy.

The initiative uses the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line as a single point of contact. The line has been open to members and non-members since the earthquake and has a comprehensive database of both farmers’ needs and offers of help.

“It’s fantastic to see some volunteer workers and networks have started some of their own initiatives. Officials will be extending a hand to these groups to encourage them to work with this centralised resource if possible,” says Mr Guy.

“All skilled workers deployed will be appropriately remunerated and volunteers can have some costs reimbursed. The initiative will also help ensure that issues such as like health and safety are managed in what is still a challenging situation,” says Mr Guy.

MPI has contracted Agriculture Employment Services Ltd (AgStaff) and Federated Farmers to manage the initiative over the next four months. This includes worker contracts, health and safety induction and training, coordinating travel and logistics, and the reimbursement of fair and reasonable costs for volunteer workers.

All calls for assistance will be managed to either AgStaff (for labour assistance) or other support organisations who are involved. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resources available for earthquake recovery assistance:

  • Contact Federated Farmers on 0800 FARMING (327 646) to lodge requests for, or offers of, help on the farm. All requests and offers are being managed through this central system.
  • Calls are answered 24 hours a day.
  • Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) for a free, private and confidential chat. A Trust person can come to see you and, if needed, point you in the right direction for further help.
  • The Government Helpline is open for calls about all government support available, on 0800 77 99 97 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
  • If your circumstances have changed as a result of the earthquake, talk to your accountant, bank, and Work and Income to see what other help you may be eligible for.
  • Industry groups like Beef + Lamb NZ and dairy organisations are also available to assist with technical advice, such as farm management and land remediation in earthquake-damaged areas.

Nathan Guy Primary Industries

http://beehive.govt.nz/release/farm-earthquake-recovery-initiative-launches

Farmer of the Year 2016 Nominations

Are you, or do you know, a top farmer in the South Island?

Nominations and/or entries are open for the 2016 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition which rewards and promotes excellence,innovation, efficiency and sustainability in
farm practices.

Any farmer in the primary production sectors can be nominated including
agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and aquaculture.
The Lincoln University Foundation offers a top prize of a $20,000
travel grant to undertake further farm study or pursue farm business
opportunities, plus four $5000 cash awards for the best performers in
the fields of resource management, consumer awareness, innovation, and
human resource management.

Nominations and/or entries are open now and close on 1 August 2016. See
www.lincolnuniversityfoundation.org.nz/how-to-enter/apply-online/
for nomination/entry forms.

Farmer of the Year Nominations A4 2016

Wages and compliance on the rise

Dry stock farmers’ salaries have grown strongly in the past year, according to Federated Farmers and Rabobank’s 2015-16 employee remuneration report.

Despite tough times and low inflation, most sheep, beef and grain farmers have provided higher average salaries.

Salaries in the dairy industry remained stable but there has been a small decrease in the value of extras farmers provide their staff, such as firewood and internet access, pushing the total value of their package down.

Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairman Andrew Hoggard said that could reflect the industry’s emphasis on ensuring that salaries matched staff skill levels and extras were not used to plug shortfalls.

The report also showed the message on compliance was getting through to dairy farmers, with the number of employment agreements and recorded hours on the rise.

New law aims to usher in safer workplaces but are farmers lifting their game?

New health and safety rules that come into force today will mean more people make it home safely at the end of the working day, say business and trade unions.

Health and safety rules
Photo: 123RF

They say the new rules, which come off the back of the Pike River mining tragedy, put a greater emphasis on safe working practices.

Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff said the Health and Safety Reform law should make a real difference to the lives of workers.

Public Service Association president Richard Wagstaff
Richard Wagstaff Photo: SUPPLIED

“There’s a lot of improvements in the Act and there’s a much greater awareness of health and safety in New Zealand.

“We think that it’s better for mining, but it’s better for the wider workplaces and there’s more Responsibility put on people in all levels of organisations to address health and safety.”

However, Mr Wagstaff said the new rules were not perfect.

“We’re concerned about small businesses of less than 20 people having weaker protections in the case of their inability to elect a workplace health and safety [representative], from our point of view there’s nothing magic about small businesses.”

David Kelly is the chief executive of the Master Builders Association and the chairman of the Construction Safety Council.

He said there was no denying the construction industry’s safety record was not flash when compared with countries like Australia, but that could now change.

“What does change is I think a much greater awareness and a push from the government agencies to make sure that people are aware and that they will enforce health and safety.

“One of the key things is making sure that your workers know what they are required to do and that they are competent in terms of their own knowledge and practice.”

Labour Party associate workplace safety spokesperson Sue Moroney said Labour largely supported the new rules – but she believed excluding agriculture as a high-risk sector was unforgivable.

Sue Moroney during caucus run 1.03.16
Sue Moroney Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

“We’re really disappointed that the most dangerous of our sectors that kills the most people every year, being agriculture, that they are not deemed to be a high-risk industry and this means that the full force of the protections under the health and safety laws are not available to that sector.”

In excluding agriculture Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse used accident data he had been warned by his own officials was highly misleading.

Under this, worm farms and mini-golf were deemed to be high risk industries, while dairy and beef farms were not.

While he later ditched that data, Mr Woodhouse continued to claim that on a proportional basis agriculture was not a high risk sector.

In 2015, there were 15 deaths per 100,000 workers in agriculture, compared with 1.4 deaths per 100,000 in non-agricultural workplaces – making agriculture proportionally 13 times more deadly.

But a farm safety consultant D’Arcy Palmer said the new law still put a lot more emphasis on the owners and directors of farms to ensure their farms were safe.

He said farmers, or the younger ones anyway, were lifting their game.

“I think it’s been a good thing – it’s made farmers aware of their responsibilities, directors certainly.

“In farming of course you have the older farmer as well and they are of the old ilk, they’re yesterday’s men [who say] ‘don’t tell me what to do on my farm, this is the way it’s been done’, but those attitudes are changing and the new generation is right on the case, they really are.”

The government was hoping the new law would lead to a 25 percent reduction in workplace deaths and injuries by 2020.

Agstaff team help collect for Red Puppy Appeal

Agstaff Operations Manager, Jim Henderson and his wife Tracy, were part of our team who collected for the Red Puppy Appeal for the Blind Foundation in Ashburton today.
The breeding and training of guide dogs simply wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the public, which is why Red Puppy Appeal is so crucial.
Thank you to everyone who coordinated, collected and donated to the The Red Puppy Appeal!
IMG_0472