New Zealand’s Farmers Struggle with Drought Conditions

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New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has said farmers on New Zealand’s North Island are desperate for rain, as a third region declared a drought on Friday.

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O’Connor classified drought conditions in Waikato and South Auckland as an adverse event for the economy’s primary sector, which includes agriculture, mining and forestry.

“This would allow farmers and growers to receive government funding.

“The districts of Northland and North Auckland had already been declared to be in drought,’’ he noted.

Most of the island’s upper half has not received significant rain since November and residents have to adhere to strict water restrictions and use water only for essential cooking, drinking and hygiene.

Earlier this week army personnel arrived in the Far North district, which is at the top of the North Island, to deliver water.

Far North Mayor John Carter told local media the army deployment showed how severe this water shortage really is.

“This is as serious as it gets, this is the worst drought we’ve had on record,” he told Newshub.

According to the New Zealand Defence Force, for the next two weeks the team will be based in the remote community of Kaitaia to help supply areas in the greatest need of water.

There are no forecasts for significant rain events for the region until the end of March.

Report says while the North is suffering from extremely dry conditions, lower parts of New Zealand’s South Island struggled with heavy rain and several floods in January.

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