Govt sets aside $600k for those affected by wild weather

The Government has set aside $600,000 to help people affected by flooding over the weekend.

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In Nelson residents are being urged to stay safe. Source: 1 NEWS

High river levels combined with flooding, fallen trees and slips largely halted travel around the top of the South Island, while several towns were cut off after floodwaters closed off access roads.

Marlborough declared a local state of emergency yesterday afternoon after over 200 properties were battered by the wild weather.

Around 900 residents living in Marlborough's Spring Creek, the Lower Wairau and Tuamarina were evacuated yesterday after waters breached stop banks. The affected residents were allowed to return to their homes from midday today.

An aerial image of flooding across Buller, photographed by Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine. Source: Jamie Cleine

Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor this afternoon assessed flood damage and local response effort in the hard-hit Buller district.

The funding includes an initial contribution of $300,000 towards a Buller Mayoral Relief Fund and another $100,000 towards a similar fund for Marlborough, Faafoi and O'Connor said today in a joint press release.

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The weekend of wild weather has been classified by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) as a medium-scale event, unlocking a further $200,000 for flood-affected farmers and growers across the West Coast and Marlborough regions.

"While it is too early to know the full cost of the damage, we expect it to be significant and this contribution will help communities to start to get back on their feet," Faafoi said.

“I know it’s been a really rough weekend for the people of Buller, Marlborough and Tasman and I’d like to acknowledge how disruptive and distressing this flooding has been for all affected communities."

O'Connor said the extra funding will be used to help farmers recover, and includes wellbeing support, specialist technical advice and other flood assistance.

The New Zealand Defence Force helps a man evacuate from a property in Buller. Source: New Zealand Defence Force

"This weather event has put further pressure on farmers who’re entering one of their busiest times of the year – calving and lambing – and we’re committed to helping them get through," he said.

MPI will be working alongside industry groups - including Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand - to determine how best to use the financial support provided by the Government.

Flooding in a vineyard in Blenheim. Source: 1 NEWS

O'Connor added that support can be accessed by farmers who are short on lifestock feed, or whose baleage and fodder crops were damaged by the floodwaters.