Relief funds available for victims of storm

By Imran Ali

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At least five different sources of financial assistance worth millions of dollars are available to Northlanders affected by last week's storm, including tapping into a mayoral relief fund set up in Whangarei and the Far North.

The Far North District Council and the Whangarei District Council will match dollar-for-dollar the $90,000 and $10,000 they received respectively from the Government, on top of contributions received from businesses and others.

Details on the eligibility criteria and other related information is still being worked out.

The Kaipara District Council wouldn't set-up a mayoral relief fund, chairman of commissioners John Robertson said.

"There's no purpose of setting one up because Kaipara didn't suffer the same way as the Far North did and we've relayed that message to the Civil Defence people," he said.

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye yesterday announced that Northlanders could tap into relief funds including hardship grants available through the Ministry of Social Development, which is currently assessing the needs of affected residents in isolated communities such as Aranga, Moerewa, Kaihu and Karaka.

"Measures are now in place to help people, and I encourage communities to contact either central or local government agencies to access this support," she said.

Far North residents were able to apply to FNDC for grants of up to $1000 to repair homes, replace damaged property or meet costs incurred as a result of the storm.

"Priority will be given to people who have been unsuccessful in getting financial help from other agencies, including Work and Income and insurance providers. Grants above $1000 may be awarded to people experiencing extreme hardship," a FNDC spokesperson said.

Government has declared the situation in the primary sector as a medium-scale adverse event and triggered a range of assistance, including funding to the Rural Support Trusts. Financial help such as accessing feed and getting animals to dry paddocks can be provided.

Flood-affected farmers can also be assisted through Inland Revenue Department's income equalisation discretion scheme.

New Zealand Transport Agency will provide emergency works funding through the National Land Transport Fund. The funding is on top of repairs to state highway networks.

- Northern Advocate

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