Updates for farmers affected by flooding and storms in April

Published on Thursday, June 01, 2017

What's happening in the rural sector?

Discussions are continuing with local stakeholders and Government to identify other ways to help flood-affected Bay of Plenty farmers recover from the April storms.

While farmers in the region are no stranger to floods, the combined effects of the April storms was beyond normal planning for heavy rain and flooding in many areas.

This is why the Minister for Primary Industries classified it as a medium-scale event. This classification means that additional recovery assistance measures were made available directly following the storms, including:

  • Enhanced Task Force Green teams to help with cleanup
  • Funding for the Rural Support Trust to coordinate recovery activities and events
  • Rural Assistance Payments for extreme hardship
  • Tax flexibility.

Financial support available to all New Zealanders is also available, and farmers whose incomes have changed are urged to talk to Work and Income about their options.

Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) for a free and confidential chat about your needs or someone you are concerned about.

This flyer has information about other support available.

More information about help at hand:

Enhanced Task Force Green Teams

  • Enhanced task Force Green (ETFG) is a programme run by MSD through the regional or local councils, or other authorised agencies.
  • It’s administered by Work and Income and helps with the clean-up after an emergency event that has caused significant damage in a region.
  • Local councils may engage with Work and Income to make appropriate arrangements for Enhanced Task Force Green workers and supervisors to assist with clean-up projects. 
  • Workers could be beneficiaries, students, or workers displaced from their jobs because of the emergency event – such as farm or factory workers.
  • Waikato already had three ETFG crews operating after the Tasman Tempest storms – one of those crews went to the Bay of Plenty to get started while MSD / Whakatane District Council were recruiting and training local Bay of Plenty crews to go on-farm. 
  • Waikato, Hauraki, Coromandel: Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254
  • Bay of Plenty: Federated Farmers 0800 327 646 select option 4

Rural Assistance Payments

These payments to help with rural families’ essential living costs may be made available. They are about the same value as the jobseekers’ allowance, and certain conditions must be met. Talk to your local Rural Support Trust.

Tax Flexibility (IR)

Inland Revenue has tax flexibility and income assistance options that could include:

  • Income Equalisation Scheme: Spreading income over several years.
  • Late filing and late payment: Extensions for some income tax returns – not GST or PAYE – may be available. Penalties for late filing or late payments may be remitted.
  • Provisional tax: If your income is lower than last year, provisional tax can be estimated downwards.
  • Tax outstanding: Instalment arrangements for outstanding tax in some circumstances.

Call Inland Revenue’s Emergency Helpline 0800 473 566 (Monday-Friday 8am–8pm, Saturday 9am–1pm).

Working for Families

If your income has changed, Working for Families may be able to offer:

  • Childcare assistance for pre-schoolers or after school and holiday care;
  • Accommodation supplement, for families with or without children;
  • IRD Tax Credits to help with the cost of raising a family.

Check your Working for Families eligibility at www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz or talk to your accountant.


Ministry of Social Development — Work and Income

A range of financial assistance is available for families whose incomes have been severely affected by the storms or floods.


  • Emergency Benefit: Income and asset-tested financial assistance for people who are in hardship, unable to earn enough to support themselves and their family, and are not eligible for any other benefit.
  • Special Needs Grant: Non-taxable, one-off payments for people to meet an immediate need. Income and asset tested and may need to be paid back.
  • Recoverable Assistance Payments:
    Non-taxable and interest-free financial assistance to non-beneficiaries to meet essential immediate needs for specific items or services. This assistance is income and asset tested, and will need to be paid back later. You must be able to identify a particular immediate need for an essential item or service.
  • Jobseeker Support: A weekly payment for people looking for full-time work, or unable to work due to a health condition, injury or disability.


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