Drought declared in Waikato and Ruapehu
Drought relief is being extended to cover the Waikato region and Ruapehu District, Agriculture Minister David Carter said this morning.
He made the announcement after meeting Waikato farmers, the local Rural Support Trust and industry representatives west of Hamilton.
The two areas were declared medium-level drought zones which means they can access more funding under Rural Support Trusts step up to help farming communities, provide farm management advice, and welfare support.
"Despite patchy drizzle in the area over the past 24 hours, it has brought little relief because of the severe dry conditions," Mr Carter said.
"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.
"The sheer size of the economic impact of drought reflects just how important the primary sector is to New Zealand."
Some farmers had suffered 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."
As extreme weather patterns increased, farmers needed to plan more for drought recovery and familiarise themselves with the support available for adverse events, he said.