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.