Friday, April 12, 2024

Drought relief reaches North Island, too

Neal Wallace
Government extends medium-scale adverse event classification to cover more regions.
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The government has extended the medium-scale adverse event classification for much of the South Island into include dry areas of Northland, Taranaki, Horizons, Greater Wellington and Wairarapa

The classification already applies for Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Canterbury and Otago, and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said extremely dry and difficult conditions are now affecting communities across the North Island with little expectation of relief in the short term.

The declaration will provide up to $80,000 to support Rural Support Trusts in Northland, Taranaki, Manawatū-Rangitīkei, Tararua, Horowhenua and Wairarapa. 

The classification unlocks further support for farmers and growers, including tax relief, and it enables Ministry of Social Development to consider Rural Assistance Payments. 

McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson have visited affected North Island regions and met with farmers, growers and sector groups.

“Farmers across parts of the lower North Island, including Wairarapa and the Tararua district, are still recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023,” Patterson said.

“Some farm dams are starting to dry up and winter supplementary feed is already being fed to livestock.”

Autumn conditions have drought-hit South Island farmers worried that even if they get enough rain, cool ground conditions and shorter daylight hours may prevent a late season flush of grass and winter feed crops.

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