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Govt support for drought-hit farmers to be expanded

The drought was recently classified as a large-scale adverse event by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Wellington | Updated: 25-03-2020 14:22 IST | Created: 25-03-2020 14:22 IST
Govt support for drought-hit farmers to be expanded
Minister O’Connor said the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on farmers and growers and additional support is needed. Image Credit: Wikimedia

From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced.

"These challenging conditions have spread across multiple regions and are impacting our farming families and we need to ensure their resilience going forward.

"People affected by drought in Northland and parts of Auckland were provided with access to RAPs on 2 March. From tomorrow, we're extending this assistance."

RAPs are payments equal to Jobseeker Support, but tax relief measures are also available and people are encouraged to apply for other kinds of assistance, for example, hardship grants to refill water tanks or cover other unexpected costs.

The drought was recently classified as a large-scale adverse event by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O'Connor. It covers the entire North Island along with the top of the South Island (Tasman, Marlborough, Kaikoura), North Canterbury and the Chatham Islands.

Minister O'Connor said the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on farmers and growers and additional support is needed.

"The pressure on our rural communities right now is extreme, and this Government is committed to helping them get through. We're continuing to keep a close eye on conditions around the country, in case more help is required. The Government is committed to doing all we can to support farmers and growers at what is a very challenging time.

The regions covered by RAPs assistance from tomorrow include:

the Auckland City Council wards of Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa, Orākei, Franklin, Howick, Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki

Waikato Regional Council

Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Gisborne District Council

Taranaki Regional Council

Hawke's Bay Regional Council Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council

Wellington Regional Council

Tasman District Council

Nelson City Council

Marlborough District Council

Kaikōura District Council

Hurunui District Council

Waimakariri District Council

Selwyn District Council

Christchurch City Council

Chatham Islands Council

"I urge people struggling as a result of the drought to contact the Rural Support Trust or go online at Work and Income, keyword drought2020, to see what they might be eligible for," said Minister Sepuloni.

(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)

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