Wellington [New Zealand], March 28: The New Zealand government is expending its drought support to more parts of the country, as dry weather conditions persist, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said on Thursday.
The medium-scale adverse event classification has been extended to cover parts of the North Island, which is already in place for parts of the South Island, McClay said.
"Extremely dry and difficult conditions are affecting communities across the North Island, and conditions are not expected to improve in the short-term," he said, adding that up to 80,000 NZ dollars (47,953 U.S. dollars) will be provided to Rural Support Trusts covering the North Island regions such as Northland, Taranaki, among others.
Farmers across parts of the lower North Island are still recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson said after visiting affected regions.
"Some farm dams are starting to dry up and winter supplementary feed is already being fed to livestock," Patterson said.
The classification unlocks further support for farmers and growers, including tax relief, and it enables the Ministry of Social Development to consider Rural Assistance Payments, McClay said, adding that it comes on top of the 90,000 NZ dollars (53,947 U.S. dollars) allocated to Rural Support Trusts in the South Island.
Patterson said the Ministry for Primary Industries has been working with sector groups, regional bodies, and farmers to prepare for El Nino since its arrival in 2023, and continue to monitor the situation to determine where additional support is needed.
Source: Xinhua