Survey indicates cyclone costs to community

Published 30 Jun 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle has put a huge dent in local farming operations and is affecting businesses and community members, a Tararua Cyclone Impact Assessment Survey has confirmed.

The survey was shared around the district in May and June, and 201 responses were captured.

Tararua Recovery Manager Don Cameron says the survey was important to quantify the size of the challenges local people were facing and will aid future planning for the medium – long term recovery programme.

“We need good data to be able to share with agencies, to support funding applications to lift the burden on ratepayers,” he says.

Mental health issues, stress and burnout were cited as issues, with many people blaming financial stress and overworking.  Of the 120 respondents to a question on getting financial support, 58 had accessed grants, and 62 had not.

In the section targeting farmers, growers or lifestyle block owners, approximately $7.8million of farm damage was reported by 66 survey respondents.  Six of those farms estimated more than $250,000 in damage, and another 24 reported between $50,000 and $250,000 in damage.

“These are extraordinary losses for farmers/growers and lifestylers to bear.  And we know many farmers are yet to estimate the monetary value of farm damage.”

While around 20% were unsure about what would be covered by insurance, nearly 47% believed less than 5% of their total damage would be covered by insurance.

Damage listed by farmer/grower/lifestyle block owners completing the survey included slips, silt, debris, fencing damage, culvert and bridge damage, farm track damage, stock losses and animal health issues.