Government extends drought relief

  • David Carter

Agriculture Minister David Carter has today extended drought relief to cover the Waikato region and Ruapehu District.

Mr Carter met with Waikato farmers, the local Rural Support Trust and industry representatives west of Hamilton today to discuss the worsening dry conditions. 

The Minister declared the two areas medium-level drought zones which steps up funding for local Rural Support Trusts to assist farming communities, and provides farm management advice and welfare support.

“Despite patchy drizzle in the area over the last 24 hours, it has brought little relief because of the severe dry conditions,” says Mr Carter.    

“Many farmers I spoke to today are comparing this early dry to 2007-2008 when drought stripped the national economy of $2.8 billion, with Waikato the worst-affected region,” says Mr Carter.

“The sheer size of the economic impact of drought reflects just how important the primary sector is to New Zealand.”

Mr Carter says it is particularly hard for farmers who have endured back-to-back droughts. 

“This puts pressure on the whole rural community, and I urge those affected to seek advice from their local Rural Support Trust.  Making the hard decisions on stocking rates and feed levels can make all the difference in getting through a drought.”

Mr Carter says that with extreme weather patterns increasing, farmers need to plan more for drought recovery and familiarise themselves with the support available for adverse events.