Cost of vegetables could rise because of flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, supplier warns

The cost of vegetables could rise as a result of the recent flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. 

A supplier to the big supermarkets has suffered significant crop losses and is warning of a shortage of greens. 

After two weeks of flooding, land is saturated, and some crops have been written off. 

"There will be significant losses. Broccoli, salad leaf, lettuce. And it ranges from complete losses to planting gaps that we've essentially missed for harvest in three months' time," Gordon McPhail, general manager of grower Leaderbrand Farming told 1 NEWS.

And that may drive up the prices for greens. 

"Certainly there's going to be reduced availability over the next three to four months, I would've thought," Mr McPhail said. 

Asked does that effectively push prices up, he said," You'd have to think so. It's just a supply and demand model."

Leaderbrand also supplies a fast food chain, and will now have to import and onsell lettuce from Australia. 

Basically when we are stranded by floodwaters at both ends we are virtually an island - Te Karaka fire chief Jamie Simpson

Its employees face reduced hours, but the company says it will look after them. 

This week's storm has left many in the region counting the cost. 

As rivers overflowed, Mike Newman's house was saved by a stopbank, but he went swimming to try and help save his neighbour's sheep. 

"I managed to grab one. It was a bit later, [I] tried to give it sort of mouth to nose resuscitation but I didn't manage on that one," he said. 

Te Karaka, which was cut off by flooded roads, is open again, but some parts are covered in silt. 

"The paddocks which are badly affected will be out of commission I think until the spring. We need a lot of sunshine on those paddocks to shrink that silt," said Ian Smith, Te Karaka resident.

For some Te Karaka residents, like Ellen Randall, it's a survival story. 

"No food. And my brothers were quite worried 'cause we could see the river rising and things like that," she said.

Others have raised questions about why roads aren't built higher, so they don't flood. 

Te Karaka fire chief Jamie Simpson says access out of the town needs to be improved, "because basically when we are stranded by floodwaters at both ends we are virtually an island".

After being battered by storm after storm, some calm there is a welcome relief. 

Leaderbrand, which supplies the big supermarkets, saw significant crop losses and is warning of a supply shortage. Source: 1 NEWS