Extra support for drought affected North Canterbury

  • Nathan Guy
Primary Industries

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has met with drought-affected farmers in Cheviot, North Canterbury today and says they’re still feeling the impacts of drought.

“North Canterbury – and the Cheviot area in particular – has missed most of the recent rainfall, and continues to face severe drought conditions,” says Mr Guy.

“Because of this, an additional $20,000 is being allocated to the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust. This will help them with more intensive activities, including individual visits and community events.

“The major concern from farmers and community leaders I’ve met today is feeding livestock through the coming winter, so it’s important that farmers revise their feed budgets now.

“While farmers are often reluctant to ask for help, I would urge people to make use of the good advice and support available.”

North Canterbury now has the highest soil moisture deficit in the country and has recorded the lowest rainfall for January to March since 1972.

The entire east coast of the South Island is classified as being in a ‘medium scale adverse event’. Recovery measures and funding will remain in place until later this year, depending on conditions over autumn and winter.

This classification triggered additional Government support, including funding for Rural Support Trusts – organisations that work closely with farmers and rural communities to provide support and guidance. Inland Revenue can also offer flexibility with tax obligations.

“With these extreme conditions, it’s important that affected communities know there is additional support still available through their Rural Support Trusts, including Rural Assistance Payments for those facing extreme hardship.”

Mr Guy says the Government has a number of initiatives underway to address the need for more water storage and irrigation projects.

“As a Government we have invested $120 million in the last two Budgets towards Crown Irrigation Ltd to invest in major projects.

“We also have the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) which is investing $28 million in 18 projects around New Zealand.

“The Sustainable Farming Fund and Primary Growth Partnership are also helping fund important research to improve the skills and resources available to farmers and growers.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries is keeping a close watch on the ongoing impacts of the drought throughout the country and is in close contact with local communities.”