Government to be asked to declare Northland drought zone

By Annette Lambly

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The Government is to be asked to declare Northland an official drought zone as dry conditions continue to severely affect the region's farmers.

Following a meeting today between the Northland Rural Support Trust and the region's rural leaders an official request is to be put to the Minister of Primary Industries, Guy Nathan, to declare a "medium scale adverse weather event".

It is the third time in four summers the region (north of the Harbour Bridge) has been affected by drought.

Support Trust spokesperson Julie Jonker said farmers had taken all steps possible to cope to date but with no rain forecasted for the immediate future the situation was worsening every day.

Milk production was already falling 19 per cent a day and it was heading to the point where production would fall below that of the 2010 drought.

Availability of supplements was already beginning to be compromised.

The minister's declaration would kick start some Government support.

A decision by the Minister is expected by the end of the week.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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