Min­is­ter pays trib­ute to drought he­roes

The Orchardist - - Contents -

Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Nathan Guy paid trib­ute to Ru­ral Sup­port Trust mem­bers at a func­tion in Par­lia­ment, thank­ing them for their work dur­ing the drought ear­lier this year. “This was the worst drought in 70 years and a very tough time for many ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. Ru­ral Sup­port Trusts worked tire­lessly to lift farmer and com­mu­nity morale. I want to salute them for the work they did in sit­ting around the kitchen ta­ble with so many farm­ers, sup­port­ing them to find a way through. They opened doors to vi­tal sup­port ser­vice and helped peo­ple to make bet­ter de­ci­sions for them­selves, their fam­i­lies and their liveli­hoods. Many farm­ers are staunch and re­luc­tant to ask for help. Their farms can be ge­o­graph­i­cally iso­lated, and the stress can af­fect the whole fam­ily. This rep­re­sents the best part of what it means to be a New Zealan­der – that we look out for our mates and neigh­bours, and sup­port them when they’re down.” Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the 14 re­gional trusts were in Wellington for a workshop with the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries and were pre­sented with cer­tifi­cates of ap­pre­ci­a­tion by the Min­is­ter. Some $320,000 in ad­di­tional Gov­ern­ment fund­ing was made avail­able to Ru­ral Sup­port Trusts this year to sup­port their drought ef­forts. A to­tal of 146 ap­pli­ca­tions for Ru­ral As­sis­tance Pay­ments were also granted this year with $814,277 in as­sis­tance paid. Th­ese are paid at an equiv­a­lent rate to the un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit and were avail­able to those in ex­treme hard­ship. “I want to thank ev­ery­one who banded to­gether to help ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in their time of need, in­clud­ing the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries, Work and In­come, Ru­ral Sup­port Trusts, IRD, Ru­ral Women, the NZ Ve­teri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion, Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ and many banks who of­fered spe­cial pack­ages. I also want to thank Fed­er­ated Farm­ers who or­gan­ised ship­ments from the South Is­land of around 100,000 bales of rye-grass and bar­ley straw,” says Mr Guy.

Mike Ea­gles, avocado grower (left), is chair of the North­land Ru­ral Sup­port Trust. He is pic­tured with Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Nathan Guy and Julie Jonker, sec­re­tary of the trust.

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