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Positive steps coming out of drought meeting

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

13 February 2008 Media statement

Positive steps coming out of drought meeting

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today that the meeting he held yesterday was an important first step in addressing the drought issues that the country is facing.

“Around thirty leaders in the sector made time to come to Wellington and I was very pleased to see the level of constructive engagement,” Jim Anderton said. “There was broad agreement that, while hoping for the best, we must prepare for the worst.”

A Drought Committee is being formed and will hold its first meeting on Thursday 21 February.

“Details of its membership and the terms of reference are now being worked on. I expect that the core committee will not be large but will link into all the networks and information channels that were represented at that meeting,” Jim Anderton said.

Officials from MAF, the Ministry of Social Development, IRD, Treasury and Civil Defence met this morning to co-ordinate their input into the Drought Committee’s work.

“At yesterday’s meeting particular concern was expressed about the effect of stress on families, as they face worsening conditions on their farms,” Jim Anderton said. “The officials from that group of government ministries will prepare information on all the services available and make sure it is given to Rural Support Trusts, the Rural Women of New Zealand networks, and to rural accountants and other advisers, so that people understand what their entitlements to assistance are.”

Jim Anderton is now finalising plans to visit those regions that are worst affected by the continuing dry weather.


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