Central Hawke’s Bay will kick off their contribution to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund with $50,000 each pledged by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, and consumer-owned local electricity lines company Centralines. The fundraising effort across the region will put a significant amount of money into a fund in which the Rural Advisory Group will be able to contribute to the cost of transport and logistics to get more feed on the ground.
Mayor Alex Walker says it’s time our region stood up to help farmers as the drought now heads into winter. “Wage subsidies and loans are helping support businesses across the country but there is very little financial support for farming. But we are here for our farmers.”
“Movement restrictions from the COVID-19 lockdown, plus widespread dry across the North Island in particular has put feed in extremely short supply, and the logistics of transporting from other parts of the country is complex and sometimes costly. Heading into a winter drought is a disastrous situation and even though feed is expensive, bringing it in to feed what stock is left is still the most cost-effective way of getting through,” says Mayor Walker.
Every farmer will continue to make hard decisions about how much stock to continue with and the region needs the primary sector in good shape to help emerge from the economic shock of the pandemic. This made the decision obvious for Central Hawke’s Bay District Council’s Chief Executive Monique Davidson to divert a portion of emergency funding from the Council to the relief trust. “Being able to pay deposits or freight costs from long distances like Otago and Southland will help immensely. We need our primary sector to be strong to feed our people and our economy and they need our support right now.”
Centralines Chair, Jon Nichols said that support for the initiative was unanimous from the Centralines management and board. “Centralines are incredibly proud to be supporting our farmers and will continue to look for more ways to contribute to the recovery of the Central Hawke’s Bay community over the coming months.”
The region has received incredible support from farming communities around the country and in particular “The Rapa Feed Run” which is in the process of bring over 600 bales of hay and baleage to Hawke’s Bay.
“A huge thanks to the legends from the Wairarapa that brought a shining ray of hope into our region this weekend” says Mayor Walker. “The show of solidarity has made an incredible boost to the spirits of our farmers. Thank you.”
18 May 2020
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