Support during a drought
Find out what help is available to farmers, growers, and their families during a drought and in the recovery period.
Drought declared a large-scale event
On 12 March 2020, the Government declared the current drought was a large-scale adverse event affecting:
- all of the North Island
- the top of the South Island (Marlborough, Tasman, Kaikōura) down to North Canterbury (Selwyn District, Christchurch City (including Banks Peninsula), Waimakariri District, Hurunui District, and Kaikōura District)
- the Chatham Islands.
Adverse events status map - South Island [PDF, 4.2 MB]
What you can do
Plan for your animals
It is important to make sure your animals are healthy during a drought.
Contact a Rural Support Trust
Your local trust can provide support and advice. It’s free to use a Rural Support Trust. Talking to them is confidential. They can connect you with the services you need, whether it’s financial and business advice or health services.
Freephone 0800 78 72 54 (0800 RURAL HELP).
Talk to an industry association
Industry associations like Beef + Lamb New Zealand or Dairy NZ can provide technical advice. Their websites have information on planning your feed budget and managing an animal's condition.
Have a feed plan
You can’t control the rain, but you can have plans in place. MPI and partner agencies are offering help with feed planning.
Getting support with your feed planning [PDF, 486 KB]
Check your budget
Talk to your bank and accountant early, and talk to them regularly.
If you need help with planning and budgeting for your farm, your Rural Support Trust can point you in the right direction.
Inland Revenue can answer questions relating to taxes.
Work and Income can tell you about emergency benefits, special needs grants, or rural assistance payments.
Keep track of conditions
What government help is available?
Government funding of $2 million has been released to help primary industries recover from the drought. Support can include:
- drought coordinators working alongside the Rural Support Trust, councils, Civil Defence, industry organisations, and community groups
- psychosocial support and events
- rural assistance payments (RAPs) to farming families who need help to pay their bills
- Inland Revenue, who may allow late deposits and early withdrawal from the income equalisation scheme
- access to professional recovery advice.
RAPs are set at the rate of the Jobseeker support benefit and are administered by Work and Income. To find out more, talk to your Rural Support Trust.
There are no cash grants for droughts, but you can talk to Work and Income about hardship support.
Be kind to yourself. Ask for help
If you have questions about the information on this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more
Support for rural people in the 2020 drought [PDF, 605 KB]