Farmers must adapt their practices if droughts become more
common rather than relying on state bailouts, the Government
Acting Prime Minister Bill English said the Government would
be unable to continuously help farmers facing drought,
His comments came this morning on TVNZ's Breakfast following
claims by experts that the drought conditions, believed to be
the worst in 70 years, will become more regular in the
As regions are declared in drought, financial support and
funding for support groups is triggered.
Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay,
Coromandel and Taupo have all been declared drought affected.
Mr English said while the Government was currently providing
hardship assistance to families, farmers would have to adapt
to the increasing risk of drought.
"We've got research in place for instance to find more
drought resistant grasses and farmers have for years been
adapting their management practices."
Mr English denied the Government was giving assistance to
failing businesses in a way it did not do for other
"I think we've got the balance about right - it's not
supporting the business in the sense of paying their bills
for them, it's just dealing with those cases involving
"By and large they would be families that if they turned up
to Work and Income looking for food vouchers they would get
them," he said.
The Government has said the drought could cost the economy $1
It is expected by Wednesday that the Tararua, Wairarapa,
Manawatu-Rangitikei and Taranaki districts will become
official drought zones.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy received formal
requests from the three regions to declare them in drought
A spokesman for Mr Guy said the minister is considering
declaring drought in more parts of the North Island this week
and is keeping a close eye on the South Island.
- Kate Shuttleworth of APNZ