18 Feb 2023

Northland farmers face big costs in wake of cyclone

12:50 pm on 18 February 2023
Flooded roads in Kaipara District, Northland.

Flooded roads in Kaipara District, Northland. Photo: RNZ / Soumya Bhamidipati

Northland farmers are counting the cost of Cyclone Gabrielle, as the clean-up reveals the scale of the damage.

Michelle Hill, whose family farms in Waiotira, 45 minutes from Dargaville said she estimated damage costs for fencing and debris clearance at about $100,000 - and this isn't insured.

She said new regulations would soon require waterways to be fenced off, which she supported, but there was concern about ongoing costs in an area which experiences up to six floods a year.

"You know, it feels like the right thing to do, to keep the cattle out of the river and it is the right thing to do," she said. "But no, goodness, I can't imagine what kind of issues we're going to have to repair them and then we get another flood."

Hill said farmers were hoping for a lift in returns to help manage the ongoing cost of floods, compliance and cost of living increases.

Areas of rural Northland were still struggling with flooding, power outages and slips, days after Cyclone Gabrielle hit the area.

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