26 April 2023
[FYI request #22232 email]
Dear Ted Higgins
Thank you for your email of 23 March 2023 requesting information relating to an
to the senior leadership of Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) regarding psychosocial
wellbeing in NZ communities. Your request has been considered under the Official
Information Act 1982 (OIA).
You requested the following:
I would like a summary of the advisement to the senior leadership of MPI regarding
psychosocial wellbeing in NZ communities, plans underway to address, and reasons
for inaction / declination to onboard advice.
Have these conversations taken place? If so, what was the outcome?
I would like the scope of this to extend to the beginning of this calendar year until the
date of request.
MPI’s Office of Rural Communities work to deliver policy and system advice on issues facing
rural communities. Recognising the unique challenges these communities face the Office
takes a strategic approach to its work by:
• Prioritising high impact areas where it can work closely with other government
agencies and across MPI to develop policies that better support outcomes for our
• Focusing on ways to support the upskil ing of policy professionals in rural proofing so
policies are developed with a clearer understanding of the needs and impacts on rural
communities from the start.
• Considering data and insight gaps where opportunities exist to support or undertake
further research to better understand the needs of rural communities.
The directorate’s mission is to ensure rural communities are prosperous, sustainable, and
resilient. We support farmers and growers through changing times and challenging
Through local connections, MPI staf , including senior leadership are aware of the continuing
challenges that rural communities are facing.
MPI supports the wellbeing of these communities through funding and working with the national
Rural Support Trust (RST) network of 14 regional RSTs and their National Council. This work has
been critical following Cyclone Gabrielle and other adverse events. To increase local
Charles Fergusson Building, 34-38 Bowen Street
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140, New Zealand
connectedness, MPI provides funding and advice to rural community hubs and wellbeing projects.
MPI also supports rural advisory groups to ensure that regional Civil Defence Emergency
Management (CDEM) organisations are well informed of impacts of adverse events on rural
communities and individuals, how well they are coping, and what support would be of most
assistance. Through regular meetings with Te Whatu Ora, MPI encourages initiatives that deliver
equitable well-being services to rural and isolated people.
Current MPI wellbeing initiatives are focused on primary sector recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle. In
addition to adverse event funding for RSTs in the affected areas and grants to primary sector
organisations undertaking a range of wellbeing activities, MPI has brought together a primary
industry cross-sector group. The focus is on ensuring efficient delivery of recovery events to help
people connect and get back on their feet. This group is organising a webinar to discuss wellbeing
impacts, provide some light relief and deliver information on available resources. A number of
those in the group are also members of an Action group convened by MPI who have developed a
wellbeing action plan for the primary sector.
I trust the information provided is of assistance. Should you have any concerns with this
response, I would encourage you to raise these with the Ministry for Primary Industries at
Alternatively, you are advised of your right to also raise
any concerns with the Of ice of the Ombudsman. Contact details are: Office of the
Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143 or at [email address].
Director Rural Communities & Farming Support