Droughts

Some parts of New Zealand may experience drought after prolonged periods of dry weather. The rural sector can be particularly affected as they rely directly on the environment. The Ministry for Primary Industries continually monitors dry conditions facing rural New Zealand.

Classifying a drought

The Ministry for Primary Industries classifies the scale of a drought as either localised-, medium- or large-scale using five criteria:

  • options available for farmers
  • likelihood of the event
  • scale of the physical impact
  • degree of economic impact
  • degree of social impact

For more information on classification of Adverse Events, see the Government Assistance for Adverse Climatic Events Impacting On-farm.

Some parts of New Zealand may experience drought after prolonged periods of dry weather. The rural sector can be particularly affected as they rely directly on the environment. The Ministry for Primary Industries continually monitors dry conditions facing rural New Zealand.

Assistance available

Government assistance

The classification of a drought as a medium or large-scale adverse event triggers a package of relief measures from different government agencies for rural land-based businesses (pastoral, horticultural and forestry). This can include:

  • tax relief
  • counselling and support
  • technology transfer
  • financial assistance

For more information on the assistance available refer to the brochure Need Help with Drought Relief?

Rural Support Trusts

Rural Support Trusts are part of a nationwide network and can assist with:

  • applications for Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) and other relief measures
  • help you work through options to manage both your farming business and the stress to you and your family
  • refer you to an appropriate individual or other organisation.

The 2013 drought

The drought during the summer of 2013 was the first time in at least 30 years that a drought event was declared for the entire North Island.

MPI commissioned NIWA to undertake an assessment of the 2012-13 drought and a comparison of its severity against previous droughts in New Zealand as far back as records allow. You can read the report here.

NIWA confirmed that for parts of southern Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and the west of the South Island, the 2013 drought was the worst in terms of soil deficit in 40 years or, in some areas, as many as 70 years (in other words, as far back as records go).

MPI analysed the drought’s impact on primary sector export revenues and this showed a decline for the year to June 30 of $1.3 billion. 

Publications and resources

To find out what is going on with the climate, NIWA produces the following information:

 

Last Updated: 05 March 2014

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