Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Climate change related droughts set to increase

16 June 2005

Climate change related droughts set to increase

A National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) report, Changes in Drought Risk with Climate Change, released today states that drought risk is expected to increase in already drought prone regions.

The report used a range of climate change scenarios and projects a two to four fold increases in the incidence of severe drought across many eastern parts of New Zealand by the 2080s. Under a medium-high scenario, Marlborough could see what is considered a one in 20 year drought event today occurring every three to five years by the 2080s.

The study covers all of New Zealand, and finds possible increases in drought risk in inland and northern parts of Otago, eastern Canterbury and Marlborough, parts of the Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, the Bay of Plenty, the Coromandel Peninsula and parts of Northland. It uses projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and internationally recognised climate models.

"The areas covered represent a large proportion of our prime agricultural land for cropping, dairy, sheep farming, viticulture and market gardening. The results are alarming," says Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson. "In some areas, un-irrigated farming may become less viable in the driest regions, while other crop and fruit farmers would face increasing competition for irrigation water.”

"The 1997-99 Canterbury drought cost $230 million at the farm gate alone. The Australian drought of 2002/03 resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in agricultural output, a net effect of a 1.6 per cent drop in GDP and 70,000 jobs. This is the scale of the threat climate change can pose to New Zealand and the agriculture sector in particular.

“We have learnt many lessons from previous droughts. We know how to harvest and store water, and we can breed more efficient and drought resistant pastures. But some of the changes outlined in this report would be well outside what we are used to. But adapting farming and water management practices will only go some way to offset the increased risk of drought under climate change.

"Only if we do more both at home and internationally to cut emissions and so to lessen the extent and effects of climate change can we make sure to avoid the drought projections at the higher end of the scale.

"There will always be a lot of talk about the economic cost of implementing polices to attempt to limit climate change. On the basis of this report we now have a better idea of the cost to our economy and society of failing to act. It is a lot cheaper to take action now than to pay for the consequences later."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news