Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the drought conditions in Northland as being a medium-scale adverse event.
“This is recognition of the extreme dry conditions farmers and growers are facing, and triggers additional Government support,” says Mr Guy.
“Extra funding will now be available if required to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases there will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.”
The announcement follows a request from local groups including the Northland Rural Support Trust and advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries who have been closely monitoring conditions.
“Farmers have been working hard and preparing for these conditions, but things are getting tough and there is little rain forecast for the next couple of weeks.
“There is significant soil moisture deficits, low pasture covers, low supplementary feed, and maize crops have struggled.
“Inland Revenue will also be exercising its income equalisation discretion to help provide flexibility and relief for drought-affected farmers.
“Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available.
“Once again this reinforces the importance of irrigation and water storage. Last year Crown Irrigation Investments announced $165,000 to scope irrigation scheme options in Northland, and in 2015 MPI contributed $75,000 towards a report examining the potential of irrigation here.”
“The Government is also keeping a very close eye on many parts of the East Coast of the North Island and supporting North Canterbury in their recovery.”
Mr Guy made the announcement today while visiting a dairy farm near Kerikeri.
Criteria for classifying a medium scale adverse eventThere are three levels of ‘adverse events’ – localised, medium and national. These can cover events like drought, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The criteria for assessing the scale of an adverse event are: Options available for the community to prepare for and recover from the event; Magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of physical impact), and; Capacity of the community to cope economically and socially impact.