27 February, 2013
Government declares drought in Northland
A state of drought has been officially declared in Northland today by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, with other regions likely to follow soon.
“This is recognition that we are now beyond what is a normal dry summer, and into an extreme climatic event. The entire North Island is extremely dry, but Northland is one of the worst-hit areas.
“The declaration of a medium-scale event means that extra Government funding will now be available to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases there will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.
“This drought decision has been made after receiving advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries, including soil moisture data from NIWA, and in consultation with the local community. It applies to the area north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“We are closely watching other parts of the North Island which are extremely dry, in particular the Waikato and Hawkes Bay.
“Support is also available from Government agencies in all regions, even without a drought declaration. Farmers should contact IRD if they need help or flexibility with making tax payments, and standard assistance is available from the Ministry of Social Development.
“Farmers have been taking practical steps to deal with the dry, such as destocking and switching to once a day milking. It’s important to plan ahead and to ask for help when needed.
“Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries are all working to help farmers get through this tough period,” says Mr Guy.
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