Assistance for North Canterbury Farmers

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Agriculture Minister Lockwood Smith has approved in full a request for assistance for the North Canterbury drought relief office received from Federated Farmers this morning.

As requested by Federated Farmers, the Government will provide $7902.84 per week for the running of the office. The funding will provide for the wages of two drought coordinators, four support personnel, plus half the wages for a Federated Farmers field officer, as well as transportation and office administration costs. The office will be required to report to the minister monthly on its operations.

The funding will continue for three months or until the drought breaks. Should the drought not have broken at the end of three months, further funding for the office will need to be considered at that time.

"The Government's funding is designed to help farmers coordinate and manage their response to the drought, protect animal welfare and support families dealing with the incredible stress that the drought has caused," Dr Smith said. "It is not a handout to business."

Dr Smith urged regional and district councils to also assist farmers affected by drought in their areas and commended yesterday's initiative by Hurunui District Council. The Government's financial assistance is comparable with that announced in February for Marlborough farmers.