New drought map shows New Zealand's severely dry conditions

A new map shows large areas of New Zealand are bone dry and it's causing big problems.

The drought monitor map was made for Newshub by NIWA.

Dark red represents severe drought, red is drought, orange is extremely dry and yellow is dry.

Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel are dark red. The rest of the North Island is either red, orange or yellow. Canterbury and northern areas of the South Island are red, orange or yellow.

New drought map shows New Zealand's severely dry conditions
Photo credit: Newshub

Rural Fire Service chief in Onemana, Coromandel Joe Adams told Newshub the drought conditions are the worst he has seen for about 40 years.

Admas said a potential fire in a dry bush area could be devastating.

"There's tens of thousands of tonnes of fuel on the ground to burn - it's a big danger," Adams said. 

Many of the Coromandel's public roads to recreational areas are closed because all it would take is one accidental spark for it to all go up in flames.

Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie says she's never seen it so dry and wants all Department of Conservation pine forests at Onemana and Opoutere gone.

"Chop the trees down. The pine trees have to go. We've said we'd help put up a pohutukawa forest or whatever they require to be done on the site."

Potential relief is in sight because there's rain forecast for mid next week. But if it doesn't come, the dry conditions could get a lot worse. 

However most of the country is currently under a total fire ban, and a lot of what's left is under severe fire restrictions.