Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is due in Northland to announce what drought relief will be available to farmers today as the region swelters under the Big Dry.

Northland is in a drought, with the Northland Rural Support Trust on Wednesday asking the Ministry for Primary Industries to officially recognise the region's Big Dry as a medium-scale adverse event, which will then trigger help for farmers. The drought is the fifth in the region in the past eight years.

If MPI did so it would inform Mr Guy and he is due to visit a farm in the Far North today to make a drought announcement, his office said.

Mr Guy told the Northern Advocate he has been keeping an eye on the situation in Northland and last Thursday inspected a parched farm in Puhipuhi and another at Pouto, south of Dargaville while on official business in Kaipara.


"It's not unusual for Northland to be dry, and while spring has been good for farmers, the region needs rain. It's a bit of a concern," Mr Guy said.

The exact details of what he was to announce today were unknown at edition time.

Northland Rural Support Trust (NRST) co-ordinator Julie Jonker said there's little likelihood of significant rain in the next two weeks and the region's farmers needed help

"We don't need that official recognition to know we are in a drought, but what it does is trigger help for farmers and officially says Northland is in the grip of another drought," she said.

Ms Jonker said farmers needed serious rain - up to 100mm - but there was none on the horizon and soil moisture levels across Northland were extremely low.

The types of support available during droughts to farming communities included access to Rural Support Trusts that are set up throughout the country to co-ordinate drought recovery activities; assistance around flexibility with tax payments through Inland Revenue; standard hardship assistance provided by Work and Income and emergency benefits.