By Robyn Bristow
The Government’s package of $500,000 to help flood stricken farmers in Canterbury is inadequate, says Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon.
He has asked the Government to consider a far more substantial package to help those in “real” need across the Canterbury region.
Mr Gordon met with acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi last week to express concerns on behalf of property owners in the district following the flood event.
He told Mr Faafoi when damage to property in the Waimakariri District was put alongside damage in the Ashburton and Selwyn Districts, the sum announced to help people get back on their feet, was not sufficient.
He also pointed out the package didn’t provide anything for lifestyle block owners affected by the floods, of which there are many in the Waimakariri District.
“Since the flooding I have talked with farmers and residents of Lees Valley, residents of affected flooding areas of Okuku and surrounding areas, and have a good understanding of the issues they face trying to get back on their feet,” Mr Gordon says.
In Lees Valley there are significant areas of fencing where the insurance cover is minimal, compared to the loss.
“I have been made aware of one case where the fencing alone would likely absorb the total $500,000 package.”
There are some lifestyle properties in the Okuku area facing similar hardship having lost fencing and other assets which were swept away by flood waters.
“Insurance cover is minimal compared to the loss, especially when it comes to fencing, and they face considerable cost putting it back,” Mr Gordon says.
There has also been land loss where rivers had changed course and gone through properties. Mr Gordon says it is too early to know the lasting effect of this, but the Earthquake Commission and insurance companies were unlikely to respond and help people in these circumstances.
“People are worried about their future and how they can afford to get back into the same position they were before the floods.”