No drought declaration - Guy
Primary industries minister Nathan Guy says the Government has not been asked to declare an adverse event - such as a drought - in any area of the country.
Mr Guy is visiting the Waikato today to see first-hand the challenging dry conditions facing the region's farmers. While some may have been expecting a declaration of drought, the minister was instead talking up predicted inclement weather.
''Rain is forecast to hit the upper North Island this week as the remnants of Cyclone Lusi hits New Zealand,'' he said. ''Any rain will be gratefully received by farmers.''
Most farmers are managing the dry conditions in Waikato and Northland, but it's becoming difficult for some. The last few months have been very dry as pasture has browned off.
''At this stage, the Government has not been asked to declare an 'adverse event' in any region. [The ministry] have been providing me with regular updates and I'll be watching these dry conditions around the North Island closely.
"Farmers are not interested in handouts, but they want to know the Government understands the challenges they are facing. That's why I'm here today to see first-hand how they are coping with the conditions.
''In general, farmers are doing a good job managing their feed and making early decisions to dry off milking cows or sell stock.''
Mr Guy encouraged farmers to seek professional advice and utilise Rural Support Trusts, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ which was able to provide information about managing dry conditions. Farmers could also approach IRD for tax flexibility on a case-by-case basis.
''Last summer New Zealand suffered through the worst drought in 70 years. However we rebounded strongly with excellent growing conditions for the rest of 2013, allowing feed reserves to be built up. This has been reflected in growing export figures and a strong forecast payout from Fonterra.
''Farmers have shown incredible resilience to adverse events before, and remain the backbone of New Zealand's economy.''