Taskforce Green

CVNZ’s Taskforce Green have come on board to help farmers following significant flooding in Canterbury.

The flooding was the result of a one in a 100 year rain event in  in late May, and the government has offered assistance to affected farmers and landowners through the Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) programme. The Ministry for Social Development (MSD) administers this programme to provide relief after a significant emergency or weather event. The government has allocated $500,000 towards the cleanup and chose CVNZ to provide this support, owing mostly to our work with Conservation Work Skills programmes over the last few years.  

IMG_5445The flooding caused a great degree of damage, resulting from the major Canterbury braided rivers overflowing their banks.  Damage to infrastructure and paddocks continues to impact landowners. Much of this damage involves fencing and debris in paddocks. While farmers can claim insurance for flood damage, this doesn’t cover clearing paddocks or removing damaged fences. This is where ETFG and CVNZ come in. 

Dave Sharp (Health and Safety), and Dylan Steeples (Conservation Work Skills team leader) initially pulled together two teams of five job seekers to help out with the work over eight weeks. This has now increased to five teams as requests have continued to roll in. Team members and team leaders now total 25, with four teams travelling from Christchurch and one based in Ashburton. Teams receive training in Health and Safety before heading out into the field. Tasks include clearing debris from fence lines, streams and riparian plantings, cleaning buildings, fixing fences and other general repairs. The teams will be helping wherever they are needed throughout the Canterbury region. 

The first two teams of five and seven have spent the last two weeks in the Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Over this time, they’ve  helped out on over 17 farms for up to three days on each farm, although a team has been based at one of the farms for a fortnight.

Three more teams are now on the ground, and with 90 farms on the list they’ll be busy over the coming weeks. Feedback from farmers and land owners has been positive and  they’ve been grateful for the teams’ efforts. The programme will run for the next 8-12 weeks depending on  demand.