The drought encompassing the entire North Island has now extended into the south, with the Buller and Grey Districts now officially being declared drought zones.
The announcement followed a meeting in Greymouth this afternoon in which local farmers asked the Government to make the declaration.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said the rain in the last week had not been enough to help these districts, and only limited rain was forecast for the next two weeks.
"It is very unusual for the West Coast to experience drought conditions and is not something that local farmers are used to. It shows just how extreme this dry period has been.
"Conditions have deteriorated quickly, and local farmers have asked the Government to recognise the tough situation they are facing.''
The drought declaration means that Government assistance will be available to affected farmers.