Country / Covid 19

Some farmers can't access stock due to Auckland border restrictions

08:45 am on 19 August 2020

Farmers with properties either side of Auckland's southern border are frustrated they haven't been able to check stock or get essential supplies because of the alert level 3 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Travel in to, out of and through Auckland is heavily restricted, with only a limited number of exemptions.

Federated Farmers Auckland president Alan Cole said that was causing headaches for farmers with properties in both Auckland and Waikato.

"They are unable to get to them," he said.

"You need to be able to get to your stock basically every day or every second day to feed out, check them. Some of the guys are calving at the moment and they've got properties on either side of the boundary."

Cole said farmers understood the need for the lockdown and wanted to do the right thing.

But he said they had been hamstrung by a lack of clear information from the Ministry of Health.

"It's unclear how to get through the border. If you go to the website, it sends you to other websites."

Some Federated Farmers members had applied for travel exemptions, but they were still waiting on the outcomes, Cole said.

"We just want to get out there and do our work, get to our other properties, look after our stock."

Cole understood that vets were now included on the exemptions list, after initially being left off, but the website was still to be updated.

Some farmers were also cut off from their usual rural supply stores, which could make getting the right feed for calves, in particular, more difficult.

If the lockdown was to extend beyond two weeks, Cole said ironing out these issues would need to be a priority for farmers.

The Ministry of Health said it has so far received more than 5000 applications for travel exemptions.

About 700 have been granted and 160 have been declined.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said a team was working as fast as possible to process them.