12 Mar 2020

Prime Minister announces national drought relief package

5:02 pm on 12 March 2020

The Prime Minister has announced a national drought relief package.

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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Jacinda Ardern and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have just made the announcement while visiting drought-hit farms in Northland.

Ardern said the rural sector is "doing it tough" in many areas.

There has been $10 million allocated for immediate relief, covering such things as water delivery and stock welfare needs.

A rural assistance payments scheme, which can be used to buy water, has also been expanded.

About $3m of the $10m drought package will go to Northland.

Far North mayor John Carter has welcomed the announcement but said the region must still conserve water, even though small amounts of recent rain have given the grass a tinge of green.

"We need more than a good rain, that's one of the things that we've got to keep reminding people - we've had some rain, the grass has greened up a little, but it's a green drought, our water tables are low, our rivers are low and so we're not out of this by a long way yet."

This morning, the Agriculture Minister declared the drought conditions affecting much of the country a large-scale adverse event.

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