Minister of Agriculture to Visit Drought Stricken Marlbrough

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Minister of Agriculture, Lockwood Smith, will visit drought affected Marlborough tomorrow to see first hand the extent and seriousness of the drought.

"It's important to see the human face of these situations, and you can only learn so much from official reports and television pictures," said Dr Smith.

"I will be discussing the effects of the drought with the farmers and families most affect by it.

"I will also be speaking to officials and volunteers on the ground who have been coordinating the private, voluntary and Government response to the drought thus far," said Dr Smith.

But, Dr Smith warned farmers not to expect direct taxpayer handouts.

"Unfortunately drought is a relatively common occurrence in Marlborough.

"Businesses, including farms, must be able to cope with regular droughts if they are to remain viable in the long term.

"However, there are a number of steps the Government can take to help alleviate the effects of the drought.

"They include short term tax relief, income support to assist with domestic expenses and provision of expertise to advise farmers on responding to the drought and coordinating relief efforts," Dr Smith said.

Federated Farmers President, Malcolm Bailey, will accompany Dr Smith.