Drought conditions remain in South Island

  • Nathan Guy
Primary Industries

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says farmers throughout the eastern South Island are still feeling the effects of drought, particularly in North Canterbury.

“It’s likely the medium-scale adverse event classification will remain in place until August or September this year, depending on conditions over autumn,” says Mr Guy.

“Despite recent rainfall, farmers and growers are still feeling the impacts of these prolonged dry conditions.

“In particular, the driest area is around Cheviot in North Canterbury which has been largely missed by most of the recent rainfall.

“I’ve been talking to the local Rural Support Trust, the Hurunui Mayor, Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith and MPI officials who have all been keeping me updated on how the community is coping.”

The drought from Marlborough to Otago was classified as a medium-scale adverse event in February, which triggered additional Government support, including for Rural Support Trusts – organisations that work closely with farmers and rural communities to provide support and guidance.

“With soil moisture levels still well below average and ongoing concerns about winter stock feed availability in parts of the South Island, it’s important that affected communities know the additional support is still available.

“This support includes Rural Assistance payments, which are available to those facing extreme hardship.”

Parts of the eastern North Island are also still recovering from the impacts of drought, despite not being classified as a medium-scale event.

“Even in areas not classified, it’s important to note that support is still available. Farmers should talk to their accountants if they need help or flexibility with making tax payments, and standard hardship assistance is available from Work and Income NZ.

“It’s also important that farmers plan ahead and revise feed budgets now, as winter feed may be limited.

“While it can sometimes be difficult to ask for help, I would urge farmers to make use of the good advice and support available.

“This drought has again reinforced 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.”