Cyclone Gabrielle – B+LNZ’s work, what you can do, Government funding, processing update, info for deer farmers

// Biosecurity

The following email was sent to farmers on Tuesday 21 February 2023. This page also contains a link to our subsequent email with further details about applying for Government funding grants.

flooding damage

UPDATE 22 February: this email contains information on accessing Government grants for primary sector recovery.

Cyclone Gabrielle has had a devastating impact on many farmers and rural communities. We know this is a really tough time and want to assure farmers we’re here for you.

Call Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 with concerns around people’s welfare.

B+LNZ’s work to help impacted farmers

  • The response is still a Civil Defence-led process and B+LNZ’s job is to support that however we can.
  • B+LNZ’s team is working across regional North Island, feeding into the national emergency response and connecting with farming communities both in the air and on the ground. Contact and connection are our primary focus at present.
  • We’re working as part of the local Rural Advisory Groups (RAGs) to have a coordinated response. RAG is made up of members from B+LNZ, Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra and MPI On Farm Support. These structures are in place to deal with events like this.
  • While welfare of farmers and their families, and also animal welfare, is rightly top of mind, we’re also talking to banks, meat processors, Inland Revenue (IRD) and central government to ensure that finance, tax issues, access to killing space are covered so farmers can get on with farming wherever possible.
  • We’re reaching out through our staff and Farmer Councillors to ensure farmers’ voices are heard and activities in their region are targeted to the right places so they can get on and farm.
  • If we haven’t connected with your community yet, reach out to us.
  • We know some farmers are already in recovery mode – here are our resources.
  • When the response moves into the next phase, B+LNZ will move into supporting the short/medium term recovery response on a region-by-region basis.

What you can do to help

The volume of people wanting to help is truly humbling. We’ve received lots of questions about how to do this – here are the preferred ways. Please note that many agencies have asked people not to donate goods as these often can’t be matched with what communities need.

More Government funding on its way

  • Yesterday, the Government said it will provide more support for farmers and growers including a further $50 million to deliver interim emergency business and primary sector support.  We’re going to make sure this gets directly to farmers as quickly as possible.
  • It will also provide more support to IRD to help with write-offs and an extension of R&D Tax Incentive filing deadlines.
  • Further detail will be provided in the next week, and we will keep you updated. We’ll be focused on how easily farmers will be able to access support and working with other agencies to ensure there are well-coordinated processes.

Civil Defence payments are available if you have been affected by the cyclone. Call 0800 400 100 or visit Cyclone Gabrielle – Work and Income.

Processing update from the Meat Industry Association

  • Meat processing in the North Island is returning to normal. Most plants in the affected areas have resumed processing and the bulk of the remaining sites are expected to re-start operations over the next fortnight.
  • Two plants – Ovation in Gisborne and AFFCO in Wairoa – continue to be impacted by power and water supply issues and are yet to confirm re-opening dates. They are moving livestock to other plants out of the region.
  • Processing companies are getting in touch with farmers to check what support they need and discuss their individual circumstances.

Information for deer farmers

  • The NZ Deer Farmers Association and Deer Industry New Zealand are compiling a register of what help and resources affected deer farmers might need and any offers of assistance or materials from other farmers.
  • Please contact Lindsay Fung to register your requirements or your offer of assistance at or 027 668 0141.

Please continue to take care of yourself and those around you.

You’ll hear from us again soon.

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