Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor today announced the fast-growing drought in parts of the lower North Island would be classified as a medium-scale adverse event.
The affected areas include Taranaki region and western parts of the Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington regions.
“Yesterday, regional leaders in Taranaki asked for support for the primary sector. Announcing a medium-scale adverse event triggers additional Government support for farmers and growers in affected areas,” says Mr O’Connor.
The community highlighted concerns about the welfare of Taranaki farmers and their livestock, due to a dwindling supply of supplementary feed on the back of a wet winter and spring.
The classification gives Rural Support Trusts a $160,000 funding boost to help serve their communities, such as organising local events, arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers, and recovery coordination to ensure everyone’s on the same page. This funding may be increased if needed.
Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, will be made available as appropriate in the New Year.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will continue to monitor the conditions across other dry areas. Farmers and growers are urged to contact their Rural Support Trust for advice.
Mr O’Connor will be in Taranaki visiting farmers today.
Questions and answers
How do farmers get in touch with a Rural Support Trust?
Phone 0800 787 254 or go to www.rural-support.org.nz
What are the affected areas?
13 districts across 3 regions
• New Plymouth
• South Taranaki
• Palmerston North
• Kapiti Coast
• Upper Hutt
• Lower Hutt
What are the criteria for declaring a medium-scale adverse event?
There are three levels of ‘adverse events’ – localised, medium and large-scale. These can cover events like droughts, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The criteria for assessing the scale of an adverse event are:
• Options available for the community to prepare for and recover from the event;
• Magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of physical impact), and;
• Capacity of the community to cope economically and socially.