12 Mar 2020

Chatham Islands farmers also feeling pressure of drought

From Checkpoint, 5:43 pm on 12 March 2020

About 750 kilometres east of the South Island, farmers on the Chatham Islands are also feeling the pressure of drought. The cluster of islands were included in this morning's large drought declaration.

Among the roughly 600 residents there, 30 or so are farmers - including Tony Anderson, who runs 5,000 sheep and 500 cattle at Wharekauri station.

Mr Anderson says it's not just the drought worrying farmers there - but also the impact that Covid-19 is having on the meat and seafood industries - which are a vital part of the Chathams' economy.

Mr Anderson told RNZ rural reporter, Maja Burry, while the season started well, towards the end of December things started going downhill.

The Agriculture Minister said while farmers in the Chathams were a tight knit and resilient group, it was important they received the same support offered to farmers on the mainlaind.

He says it'll be working with farmers there who may need help arranging feed for stock or other support.