Farmers are facing a drought and the government should use some of its $1 billion regional development fund for water storage and irrigation schemes, National's Nathan Guy says.

The former primary industries minister questioned Regional Development Minister Shane Jones in Parliament on Wednesday but couldn't get a commitment from him.

"Alarmingly, all he could say was that the final criteria for the fund is yet to be determined," Mr Guy said today.

Nathan Guy
Nathan Guy

"The new minister has $1b to throw around ... yet this government appears to be refusing to back any new regional water storage."


Mr Guy said Mr Jones and NZ First were passing up a golden opportunity to enhance regional development "all because they're hog tied to the ideologies of Labour and the Greens".

Meanwhile, farmers are talking about a looming green drought.

Central and south Otago, as well as some parts of Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, are some of the driest areas of the country.

Weather expert Richard Green told NZME this morning a green drought is when sporadic rain covers green grass on the surface, but the soil beneath that is bone dry.