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Drought could cost NZ $2 billion

Monday 18 Mar 2013 5:50 a.m.

Finance Minister Bill English

Finance Minister Bill English

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The burgeoning financial cost of the drought serves as a reminder of the country's heavy reliance on the agricultural industry.

Finance Minister, Bill English, now estimates the big dry could cost the economy $2 billion, up from $1 billion a week ago.

BNZ chief economist, Tony Alexander, says that while it doesn't make it the most expensive drought, it's still significant.

Rain has now fallen on much of the country, but farmers don't know if it's enough.

"It is becoming very desperate because if your cows aren't up to condition when they calve, it just follows on for the next 12 months," Dargaville farmer Des McGowan said yesterday.

Both dairy farmers and corn growers in Northland are struggling, and West Coast farmers in the South Island are pushing for their region to be declared a drought zone too.

3 News/ RadioLIVE

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