Govt increases support for drought-stricken farmers

  • Hon Damien O’Connor

The Government is pumping an extra $3 million into the Drought Recovery Advice Fund to help hundreds of farmers and growers recover from drought and prepare their businesses to better meet future needs, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“There was an overwhelming response from farmers when we launched the Drought Recovery Advice Fund so we’ve put more money in to help meet the need,” Damien O’Connor said.

“This extra funding means we’re able to provide critical support to far more farmers and growers with quality professional advice to help them recover from this drought, and better prepare their farm businesses for any similar events in future.

The advice will also help farmers to develop the mandatory freshwater modules of their farm environment plans.

“These modules are a key aspect from the Action for Healthy Waterways - our extensive reform package announced earlier this month to make sure we have clean water to drink and irrigation to support a sustainable economy.

"Farmers and growers have shown that they are able to roll with the punches and most have been well-prepared for these types of events, but as the months go by without significant rain in many parts of the country, there is a cumulative impact.

“Significant drought has affected many parts of New Zealand and this fund will provide relief across all of the North Island, the Chatham Islands, Christchurch, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Selwyn, Kaikoura, and Waimakariri districts and regions.

“The Government knows our farmers, growers and producers will play a critical role in New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, so helping reduce pressure on farmers and their families, plan for the future, and drive regional recovery efforts is a priority for us” Damien O’Connor said.

Today's announcement brings the total amount of government funding pledged to rural communities affected by drought to more than $19 million so far this year, much of which has been specifically targeted at farmers.