Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits flood-ravaged Ashburton farmers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is back in flood-hit Mid Canterbury today. Photo: George Heard
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is back in flood-hit Mid Canterbury today. Photo: George Heard
Farmers still mopping up from the "100-year flood" more than three weeks ago are meeting with the Prime Minister today who has jetted in to inspect the damage.

Jacinda Ardern is spending the day in Mid Canterbury, which was devastated by torrential, relentless rain that caused widespread damage to bridges, roads, farms, houses and garages, and resulted in military intervention and hundreds of evacuations.

Ardern this morning met district mayors and recovery managers at the Ashburton River bridge, which slumped in the rampaging floodwaters.

After a closed-doors meeting at Ashburton District Council, she is expected to visit a farm badly-damaged by floodwaters in late May and now face years of work to get it back on track.

Ardern got a first-look at the flood's scale on June 1, when she was given an aerial tour of the district in a military helicopter.

She posted a live video during her flight which showed flooding stretching across the flooded Canterbury Plains.

"Devastating to see what communities will be dealing with for some time to come," she said on social media on June 1.

"We'll have a chance to meet with some of the local leaders shortly to see how we can help support them."

Severe flooding hit Canterbury more than three weeks ago, with a state of emergency declared for...
Severe flooding hit Canterbury more than three weeks ago, with a state of emergency declared for the whole region. Photo: George Heard
MP for flood-hit Selwyn, Nicola Grigg, earlier this week said farmers are feeling forgotten three weeks on.

She is critical of an "inconsequential" $500,000 which the Government announced on June 1 would be for "flood recovery measures".

Grigg hoped today's visit by the Prime Minister would result in more meaningful help.

"Farmers have now spent three weeks working themselves to the bone to clear up flood damage - much of which could have been avoided had ECan, the regional council, done its job and kept waterways clear of shingle," Grigg said earlier.

"To be clear, farmers are not looking for handouts - but much of the damage has occurred in areas where they have been paying rates to ECan to maintain and clear waterways and, in many places, this work has not been carried out for years."

She added: "I have repeatedly called on the Government to pull all the levers it has at its disposal to help farmers restore their land and their businesses as quickly as possible. Private business is having to pick up the tab for a public entity's mismanagement of rivers across Canterbury.

"If it really wanted to help, the Government could divert Civil Defence funding to help with earthworks, land remediation, fence restoration and the lost productivity being caused to those who've lost land, feed and stock."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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