West Coast dairy farmers may be forced to dump milk as the region's largest processing factory struggles with power outages caused by ex-cyclone Fehi.
Steve Atwood, of Westland Milk Products, which is owned by over 400 farmer shareholders, told Radio New Zealand that power at its Hokitika factory had been on and off "but mostly off" as a result of the storm.
"As far as Westland Milk Products is concerned that's meant that we haven't been able to process milk," he said.
"So what we're doing at the moment is diverting as much milk to other dairy companies as possible and just trying to get the message out to our suppliers about how to manage the situation if they have to dispose of any milk to their effluent ponds or onto land."
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The company's tanker fleet had also been unable to get to some farms because of road closures as a result of downed trees, powerlines and flooding.
Atwood was unaware of how many farmers were affected at this stage. The question of insurance would be addressed in due course, he told RNZ.
The region was among the regions worst hit by the ex-cyclone, which has flooded homes and businesses, shredded roads and infrastructure across the country. This morning, 115 motorists remained stranded in their cars near Fox Glacier to the south as a result of the weather carnage.