Media Release For immediate release
21 March 2020
Support kicks in for Bay of Plenty farmers in drought
As drought grips many parts of the country, the ongoing challenges faced by farmers in Bay of Plenty have prompted the Bay of Plenty Primary Sector Coordination Group (PSCG) to draw on recently released Government funding.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor last week classified the drought in the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chathams as a large-scale adverse event, unlocking up to $2 million in Government funding to support farmers and growers from now until June 2021.
Miles Mander, chair of the Primary Sector Coordination Group (PSCG) and Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust said that primary industry representatives and agencies had been monitoring the drought situation in the Bay of Plenty for several months.
“We were about to request drought classification for the BOP to support farmers and growers when the Minister made the announcement, which includes the BOP.”
“This drought package provides funding to the Trust to ramp up its support to farmers and growers who are struggling with the drought conditions. I encourage farmers who are finding the going tough and need help, or know someone that does, to get in touch with the Trust for a confidential chat and some guidance from one of the team.”
Drought classification also unlocks access to IRD’s Tax Equalisation Scheme and Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) to help families in extreme hardship. The Rural Support Trust can support applying for RAPs which are the equivalent of the jobseekers’ allowance.
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, PSCG industry stakeholders’ BBQ events had been cancelled. “Now is the time to get creative and find alternative ways to support those affected by drought in these changing times,” said Miles.
BOP Provincial Federated Farmers President Darryl Jensen said that while current conditions were putting a real strain on farmers, with support they would come out the other side.
“Bay of Plenty farmers are resilient but this drought seems never-endin