Agricultural Minister extends drought classifications to more regions

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has classified the drought conditions in the Gisborne, Manawatu, Rangitikei, and Tararua districts as a medium-scale adverse event.

The classification, which follows previous announcements in Northland, Auckland and Waikato, unlocks Government recovery assistance measures for farmers and growers.

"Many parts of the country are doing it tough due to a substantial lack of rain," said O'Connor said. 

"This classification means extra funding of $150,000 will now be available to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts."

In extreme cases, Rural Assistance Payments would be made available to farmers in severe hardship.

"It's important to recognise that while farmers and growers in these parts of the country have experienced dry conditions before, the current situation is only getting more difficult."

In the Tararua district, the extremely dry summer has affected river levels and particularly hit some areas near the Ruahine ranges that normally receive better summer rainfall. 

Damien O'Connor said many parts of the country were doing it tough.
Damien O'Connor said many parts of the country were doing it tough. Photo credit: Newshub

Stock water supplies, as well as domestic and municipal water supplies, have come under extreme pressure.

"In the Gisborne district, Ngatapa, Rere and north of Tolaga Bay have received little rain with dams dry, feed availability low and farmers facing long delays in getting stock to the works.

"Farmers have been actively managing to meet the feed requirements of their stock and dairy herds are being milked less frequently and some are being dried off early.

 A close eye was being kept on a number of other regions, where extra help could also be needed.