Waikato, Ruapehu declared drought zones as farmers recall 2008’s big dry
Dec. 15 (BusinessDesk) – The Waikato region and Ruapehu District have been declared medium-level drought zones, with some farmers already making comparisons to the ‘big dry’ of 2007-2008, says Agriculture Minister David Carter.
“Many farmers I spoke to today are comparing this early dry to 2007-2008 when drought stripped the national economy of $2.8 billion, with Waikato the worst-affected region,” Carter said in a statement. “The sheer size of the economic impact of drought reflects just how important the primary sector is to New Zealand.”
The declaration means the government will provide additional funding to farming communities via local Rural Support Trusts. It comes a week after Carter declared all areas north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge a medium-level drought zone.
The parched rural regions are in stark contrast to predictions by climatologists that the nation faces a wetter-than-normal summer in the north because of the La Nina weather pattern, which tends to favour a north-easterly wind flow that is expected to bring rain to Northland. The scientists say it isn’t possible to be specific about the amount of rain that may fall.