Farmers affected by Mycoplasma bovis need help and support, but MPI treats them as guilty parties, claims Mid-Canterbury Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Ford.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy were joined by Prime Minister John Key at the Fieldays to announce the extra funding for Rural Mental Wellness, a continuation of last year's investment.
"The Government recognises that rural life goes in cycles, with ups and downs. We are committed to supporting our rural communities," says Dr Coleman.
"The Rural Mental Wellness initiative is the right mix of further raising awareness of mental health issues within rural communities, coupled with practical help to improve the skills of the health professionals who work alongside the rural sector.
"This joint investment will help to ensure we maintain the momentum achieved last year, while also putting a plan in place for the future."
Guy says the new funding will help to strengthen local networks for farmers, workers and families in rural communities. It will provide more suicide prevention workshops and employ coordinators to work with Rural Support Trusts.
"Farmers and their families are not alone," he says. "There is a wide range of good advice and support from organisations like Rural Support Trusts, Farmstrong, and Dairy NZ.
"While this season may be tough for some, it's important to keep a focus on what we can control and to remember the long term outlook for the dairy sector is bright."