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Minister needs to step up as drought worsens in Taranaki

Minister needs to step up as drought worsens in Coastal Taranaki

The Minister for Primary Industries needs to step up and listen to the rural sector in the face of the worsening drought in Coastal Taranaki, National’s Rural Communities Spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.

Mrs Kuriger reached out to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last week to discuss ideas put forward by the Taranaki Rural Support Trust, but the Minister has not accepted the invitation to meet.

“It would seem that the response by the Minister - since initially declaring the drought - has been to bury his head in the sand on the Coastal Taranaki issue.

“Farmers in the worst-affected areas have ideas that could help minimise the impact of the drought, but he’s apparently not willing to listen.

“I am aware that the Taranaki Rural Support Trust also attempted to engage in dialogue with the Minister on this but they’ve not heard anything either.

“The drought conditions are at a critical level, particularly in Coastal Taranaki. It’s frankly outrageous that the Minister is not dealing to this issue with a sense of urgency.

“Our farmers deserve more than the lip service they have been getting so far. I urge the Minister to step up and engage directly with them,” Mrs Kuriger says.



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