Despite the absence of a dedicated programme to help fruit growers in the Tasman District that were affected by the Boxing Day hail storm, the government is processing their requests for help, according to Damien O’Connor, West Coast-Tasman MP.
However, some farmers fear that insurance will not be able to compensate all their losses. One such grower, Julian Raine, said he was fully insured but expects to recoup only around 20% of losses.
“Quite a bit of damage doesn’t reach the threshold [for insurance],” he told Stuff. “For [damage] that’s minor, you get zero for that.”
Growers have said they need to be able to pay and keep their core staff due to the high amount of post-storm work, such as separating the damaged fruit from the good fruit to prevent rotting, as well as protecting affected trees from disease.
“We will bounce back quicker if we can keep those core staff working,” Raine said.
O’Connor acknowledged the need for government support for staff to clean up after the storm as well as get the trees and vines ready for the next growing season. O’Connor, along with Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash, had already met with several growers during a break in a Labour caucus on Tuesday.