Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has declared a medium-scale adverse event for the Canterbury region after days of flooding.
A state of emergency has been declared after about 400mm of rain fell in parts of the region in the past few days, causing widespread flooding and significant damage to property and roads.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern surveyed some of the damage from a helicopter this morning.
In a statement, O'Connor said the announcement unlocked $500,000 in funding for recovery measures for the region.
"The funding will help speed up the recovery of farming businesses, and includes wellbeing support and specialist technical advice.
"The money will be used for recovery grants, to enable the region's three Rural Support Trusts to provide extra help to farmers, and for other flood assistance where needed."
He said the government would assess whether further support would be needed, adding that the impact had been "beyond the communities' ability to cope".
"It's putting further pressure on farmers who have been battling drought and we're committed to helping them get through."
The government is also considering an Enhanced Taskforce Green work programme to assist with clean-up and recovery, Rural Assistance Payments to help farmers with essential living costs, and flexibility through the Income Equalisation Scheme.
Today coincides with what usually would be Moving Day for farmers.
Support is available for farmers short of livestock feed or who have had crops washed away:
- The national Feed Coordination Service can help connect farmers with supplementary feed which has been donated or listed for sale
- Farmers needing expert support to do a feed budget can contact the Feed Planning Service by phoning 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69)
- Farmers who need wellbeing support can call their Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254