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Flood Payments Could Have Been Higher

Published: Thu 22 Apr 2004 08:10 AM
Flood Payments Could Have Been Higher
Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) is pleased at the start of payments to storm victims in the lower North Island, but points out that the payments could have been substantially higher.
New Zealand Red Cross, in conjunction with FFNZ, has begun distributing over $4.5 million to 1030 farmers and 623 households.
"The payments will help rebuild the lives of flood victims, but the individual amounts could have been about a third more," said FFNZ Chief Executive Tony St. Clair.
FFNZ and NZ Red Cross raised, with enormous help from the Holmes show, a total of $3.3 million generously donated by New Zealanders.
The government promised to match all donations one-for-one. But, to everyone's surprise, gave its contribution ($4.85 million) to the local government-created Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Disaster Relief Fund.
That relief fund has pledged to pass only $1.25 million to the NZ Red Cross-FFNZ fund -- short changing our programme by more than $2 million.
"We are extremely disappointed for those flood-affected people who are being short changed by this financial jiggery and pokery," said Mr St Clair.
Mr St Clair said that the joint fund with Red Cross is the one best suited to provide speedy aid to flood victims, without getting wrapped up in local government red tape.
"The money is not intended to compensate for losses, but rather is designed as an encouragement payment to use in the best way for the home, farm, and family. Those who donated want to see the money working immediately for these causes, rather than being held back for wider community purposes that do not target those most in need.
"Federated Farmers will continue to lobby for equitable funding," Mr St Clair said.
"We would like to thank all those who donated cash for needy flood-affected families, some of whom lost their homes, possessions and livelihoods."

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