The Government has declared a drought over the Northland province today and says other regions will follow suit shortly.
The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said “This is recognition that we are now beyond what is a normal dry summer, and into an extreme climatic event. The entire North Island is extremely dry, but Northland is one of the worst-hit areas.
“The declaration of a medium-scale event means that extra Government funding will now be available 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.
“This drought decision has been made after receiving advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries, including the latest soil moisture data and in consultation with the local community. It applies to the area north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“We are closely watching other parts of the North Island which are extremely dry, in particular the Waikato and Hawkes Bay.
“Farmers have been taking practical steps to deal with the dry, such as destocking and switching to once a day milking. It’s important to plan ahead and to ask for help when needed” Mr Guy said.
WeatherWatch.co.nz believes the dry spell will continue in the short term however there are indicators the weather pattern could change in a fortnight possibly.