The official declaration of a state of drought in Northland
has been welcomed by farmers, who say it will bring
much-needed support to those affected.
A state of drought in Northland was officially announced by
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy yesterday.
"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," he said.
Declarations of drought for other areas are likely to follow,
said Federated Farmers.
Northland provincial president Matt Long said yesterday's
declaration would trigger support from organisations like the
Rural Support Trust Northland and flexibility from Inland
"As this is a highly stressful time for farmers and their
families, access to counselling services is invaluable.
"It is not about being excused obligations but the ability to
set up individual plans with it; plans that need to be
organised through a farmer's agent or accountant," he said.
"Federated Farmers said there was also no justification for
the high New Zealand dollar given the widespread dry
conditions, which had significantly affected dairy production
in some areas.
Northland's February milk production is about 20 per cent
down compared to last year, and in Waikato it is about 15
"When you put this effect on dairy together with the way meat
and fibre farmers have rapidly destocked over summer, New
Zealand's two leading exports are under the gun," said
Federated Farmers' President Bruce Wills.
"When you put all of this together the economic fundamentals
provide no justification for the substantially overvalued
Kiwi dollar. Any short-term uplift in commodity prices will
likely reflect supply concerns, and while helpful, it won't
provide a cash boon for farmers or the economy."