North Canterbury News & Events

Initial recovery mobilisation fund to help farmers and growers hit by Cyclone Gabrielle

Initial recovery mobilisation fund to help farmers and growers hit by Cyclone Gabrielle

The Government is providing an initial $4 million to help farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and rural communities.


Media Release from: Hon Damien O'Connor, Hon Kieran McAnulty and Hon Meka Whaitiri - 15 February 2023

The Government is providing an initial $4 million to help farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and rural communities mobilise and co-ordinate recovery efforts from Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The breadth of this storm’s impact is unprecedented with milk collection disrupted, orchards inundated and livestock losses across much of the North Island. This is a dynamic situation and we are responding accordingly to help the rural sector to respond with this initial funding of $4 million,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

“This is a difficult time for many, with thousands of people’s homes and businesses affected by this large-scale adverse event - the Government is here to provide support.

“I expect we will provide more support once a full and thorough assessment of the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle across the North Island is complete. That destruction includes flooded farms and orchards, damage to vital roading and electricity infrastructure, and isolated communities.

"Conditions continue to make it difficult to assess the full extent of crop damage, livestock losses, and disruption.

“Widespread power outages are affecting dairy farmers’ ability to milk cows, especially in Northland. Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff are working closely with sector groups and processors to minimise any potential animal welfare issues.

“It’s expected damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle will exacerbate feed issues experienced by some farmers in flood-affected areas. MPI is restarting the national Feed Working Group, which is a partnership with sector groups and specialist providers to monitor feed availability.

“This recovery mobilisation fund will help provide extra resources for sector organisations to support affected areas," Damien O'Connor said.

The Government has already declared a National State of Emergency and announced an $11.5 million community support package to assist in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

It is only the third time in the country’s history that a National State of Emergency has been declared.

“This is an unprecedented weather event, which for some rural communities comes just weeks after flooding in the upper North Island and damage caused by Cyclone Hale,” Rural Communities Minister Kieran McAnulty said.

"The MPI Rural Communities and Farming Support, On Farm Support, Animal Health and Welfare, and Māori Agribusiness teams are on the ground in the regions helping where they can.”

Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri said regional staff from MPI were focused on assisting the primary sector.

"We’re being regularly updated on the wellbeing of people and the welfare of their livestock. We will work directly with sector groups and organisations, including Rural Support Trusts, to identify and focus help to the areas of greatest need,” Meka Whaitiri said.

“Māori agribusinesses and their staff have been affected across the motu and we will help them get through this.”

Helpful links and numbers: 

  • Farmers and Growers can contact their local Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254 
  • Farmers needing support around dealing with floods are encouraged to visit the MPI website Dealing with floods | NZ Government (  
  • DairyNZ: 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69) 
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand: 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) 
  • Federated Farmers: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) 
  • Horticulture New Zealand: 0508 467 869  


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