MP Stuart Smith concerned for North Canterbury farmers

Kaikoura news
Friday, May 15, 2015

The very dry conditions in North Canterbury are hitting farmers hard and look set to continue until August or September this year.

“I am deeply concerned for local farmers. Moving around the region it’s clear these dry conditions are tough and are adding considerable stress.

“Some much-needed recent rainfall largely missed Cheviot and Hawarden, meaning these areas are particularly affected,” said MP for KaikĊura, Stuart Smith.

NIWA has advised soil hasn't been this dry in North Canterbury since drought struck in the late 1990s, making 2015 the second driest summer since records began 75 years ago.

“Many of the farmers that I have spoken with have been forced to choose between significantly reducing their stock numbers or spending thousands on extra feed.

“Farmers should remember they are not alone in their situation, support is available from the Rural Support Trust and others. For those facing extreme hardship Rural Assistance Payments (RAP) are also available.

“In these tough times, it is important that our communities pull together and support one another. I was encouraged by last month’s Te Mania, Future of the Heartland Event and the farming for profit meeting organised by Beef and Lamb New Zealand, as both offered the opportunity for valuable advice to be shared.

“For those that did not get the opportunity to attend the events above, I would encourage them to attend the Resilient Farmer event coming up on the 25th May in Cheviot.

“I am in regular contact with the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy, who this week acknowledged the challenging conditions here in North Canterbury and stressed the importance of speaking with your accountants if you need flexibility with making tax payments,” said Mr Smith

MP Stuart Smith wants to hear from constituents having difficulties. Contact Mr Smith on 03 313 7926 or e-mail stuart.smithmp@parliament.govt.nz.