Thumbs up from Feds on Severe Weather Emergency bill

Federated Farmers is pleased that Government and Opposition MPs have heard the call for some of the usual RMA red tape to be suspended for farmers fixing cyclone damage.

The intent of the Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Bill, now with a select committee for speedy consideration, is to deem as ‘permitted activities’ work that farmers in the Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti and other provinces need to do to correct waterways, remove silt, clear other debris and create the conditions for restored access and animal welfare.

"Feds made this call soon after Cyclone Gabrielle, having seen the positive impact of similar emergency legislation after the Kaikoura/Hurunui earthquake," Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said.

"This proposed legislation means farmers can direct their time and resources to getting production going again, rather than fretting about consents and delays.

"We’re impressed and thankful for the prompt response from government, and the support from the Opposition as this bill is fine-tuned at select committee - ideally by the end of the week."

National MP Michael Woodhouse said in the House on Tuesday it was "solid-looking legislation" but certain aspects were "clunky and cumbersome". Federated Farmers agrees.

Changes that Federated Farmers want to see include:

  • Extension of the geographical area that the legislation covers be extended, at a minimum to also include the Manawatu and Rangitikei Districts, which also suffered significant cyclone damage.
  • Extending the period for the emergency activities undertaken by rural landowners to 1 April next year, rather than the proposed October 2023 deadline.
  • Removal of the word ‘immediate’ from emergency repair requirements.

"While the proposed eight-month period the legislation would apply isn’t disimilar to the timeframe for the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Act 2016, Feds believes that this a different scale of event and that a longer period is appropriate - partcularly given we’re heading into winter and that will disrupt infrastructure repair work," Andrew said.

"A requirement for ‘immediate’ repairs may also be impractical. For the earthquakes weather was not a factor, whereas here it is. Some repairs, while urgent, will have to wait for the ground to dry out and this might not happen until the summer."


For more information contact:
Andrew Hoggard, President Federated Farmers of NZ, 027 230 7363
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892