Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:00

What does a ‘drought’ declaration mean?

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MPI’s David Wansbrough says a lot of people look for the headline ‘drought declaration’, but they should understand what this means in practical terms. 

 It doesn’t mean huge amounts of government dollars flowing into a region, he says.

“What we declare is the size of the recovery measures that might be needed. Our policy is that if we think the drought is localised the Government won’t go in to help. 

“We expect communities to have a fair bit of resilience and do risk management at the local level. When it gets beyond the local level and clearly communities are not able to cope – particularly if
we think animal or family welfare are at risk – then there are measures we can put in place.

“People should also know that regardless of whether or not a drought is declared, help is always available. IRD is receptive at any time to talking to farmers about equalisation schemes or even some leniency on the timing of what they owe IRD.” 

Wansbrough says when a drought is declared there will be a little extra assistance available, but most assistance is available all the time if required. 

MPI has for ten years focused on putting in place systems and support networks to help farmers deal with adverse events. The Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and Federated Farmers work with MPI to support farmers.

Right now in South Canterbury and North Otago these organisations are working with MPI to monitor the situation. Wansborough refers to regular meetings and a weekly conference call to help assess the situation.


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