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Published: 2013-03-06 00:00:00

The Government’s formal declaration today of a drought in Waikato is a positive move for communities under stress, says Waikato Regional Council chairman Peter Buckley.

The move followed a request for a declaration last Friday by the multi-agency Waikato Regional Drought Committee.

Mr Buckley, a north Waikato dairy farmer who also chairs the drought committee, said the declaration and the assistance measures it ushers in are “very welcome, especially amongst farmers under more extreme stress because of the big dry.

“These are tough times for farmers and others in our region and I’m grateful to the Government for responding positively to the committee’s call.”

The Government says assistance goes mainly to the groups who are coordinating support for individuals and businesses, as well as providing for some direct help to families in extreme need.

“People who need the help being offered shouldn’t hold off putting their hand up,” said Mr Buckley.

“Also, I’d urge people in areas under stress to keep an eye out for each other and support each other through these tough times.”

Mr Buckley said the regional council would continue to monitor climatic conditions closely and work with other agencies on the drought committee on co-ordinated responses to the situation.

“Committee meetings will be held on an as required basis in response to developments.”

The council is encouraging consent holders to stick closely to the terms of their water use consents.

Also, farmers and others should follow the advice of their industry organisations over managing through droughts.