Following recent devastation caused by giant hail stones, Masterton orchardists are seeking government assistance to help clear up the estimated NZ$2m damage. 

In the district affected, apple crops and pears, were ruined. Around 200 driving and packing jobs have been lost already and a spokeswoman for Fruitgrowers Lyn Eglinton, commented that it was possible some growers would be made bankrupt.

A three-page submission was presented to agriculture minister Jim Sutton last night. As yet the full details have not been released but it does contain requests for technical assistance to nurture damaged trees and for a task force of pickers to rid the orchards of damaged fruits.

Some believe that the cost of damages across the district could rise to NZ$5m.