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Drought declaration needed, but tough times ahead

Spokesperson for Primary Industries

Drought declaration needed, but tough times ahead

The declaration that the entire North Island is now a drought zone recognises the huge pressures facing individual farmers and the wider agricultural sector following the prolonged period of dry weather, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The announcement by the Minister today, prior to the 31 March, will allow farmers access to more flexible tax provisions relating to this financial year. It will ease the stress of potentially large tax bills at a time when they have huge costs of feed for their stock.

“It is also important that meat companies do all they can to facilitate the processing of stock in a fair way to ease the pressure on animal welfare and individual farm management.
“I know some farmers are having difficulty accessing processing space at meat works, but it is imperative the sector works together to maintain our reputation for the highest standards of animal welfare.

“Labour Leader David Shearer spent some time with farmers in the Wairarapa yesterday to see first-hand the conditions they are facing, while I have been speaking with farming leaders in the top of the South Island where conditions are dry but variable.

“This is a massively stressful time for farmers. They are struggling now and they will struggle in the months ahead.
“With that in mind it is important to ensure they – and their colleagues on the West Coast where drought is extremely unusual - are given the support they need to make right and timely decisions.”

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