The impact of ongoing dry conditions on the eastern South Island means the medium-scale drought classification will be extended until the end of the year, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“Extra funding of up to $88,000 will go to drought recovery coordination and the five Rural Support Trusts in the area, with $30,000 of this going to the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust,” says Mr Guy.
The announcement was made by Mr Guy at a meeting with local farmers in North Canterbury today, his fifth visit to the region since April last year.
“This will mean the area has been in drought for nearly two years, since its initial classification on 12 February last year. This will be the longest period of time a classification of this type has lasted for.”
“North Canterbury remains the worst affected area with rainfall only around 50 to 60 per cent of the long term average. Soil moisture remains significantly drier than normal and some Canterbury wells show groundwater at record low levels.
“This extra funding means a total of $538,000 has been made available by the Government since February last year.
“As well as extra funding, Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) will be available for those in real hardship until 28 February 2017.
“It’s important for rural communities to know they are not alone and there is support out there. As well as Rural Support Trusts, Inland Revenue can also offer flexibility with timing of tax payments.
“The additional $600,000 for rural mental health announced at Fieldays this month will also complement Rural Support Trusts work organising community events, professional meetings, and one-on-one mentoring.
“In the longer term, it’s pleasing to see the Hurunui Water Project can now begin planning and construction following a High Court ruling earlier this year. This project has received a total of $2.6 million from the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund and precursor funds.”
“We are also keeping a close eye on parts of the east coast of the North Island that are still very dry, including Wairarapa, parts of Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast regions.”