13 Mar 2013

Worries for young farmers as Wairarapa joins drought cry

7:22 am on 13 March 2013

Experienced farmers in Wairarapa say newcomers to their industry will be hardest hit, as arid conditions continue.

Wairarapa on Tuesday joined the queue of North Island regions asking the Government for support. Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay are already declared to be in a state of drought.

For the past six months, Wairarapa has received only 60% of its usual rainfall and there has been virtually no rain at all since the first week of February.

Masterton district councillor David Holmes says he's been farming in the area for 45 years and the weather this year is as bad as it gets.

He says over the past few years, a lot of farms in the area have been taken over by young people who may need support from more experienced hands.

The group has formed a committee to organise that sort of help.

The drought is also hitting urban areas, with Wellington Regional Council evoking a consent to allow extra water to be taken from the Hutt River for household supplies.

Councillor Nigel Wilson says the move is a precaution but people do need to start thinking about water conservation.

Other regions have been placed under water restrictions in recent weeks, including Hastings, New Plymouth, Tasman and the Buller District.

In Invercargill, restrictions on using hoses begin today.

MetService senior forecaster Leigh Matheson says the remnants of tropical cyclone Sandra should bring some rain to northern and western parts of the country this weekend.

She says the distribution and amount of rain is still very uncertain at this stage.