15 Oct 2009

Drought over for now

6:05 am on 15 October 2009

Recent spring rain over much of New Zealand means the drought crisis is officially over for now, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, a developing El Nino weather pattern is forecast to intensify at the end of spring.

Earlier this year, Government relief measures were announced for farmers in parts of North Canterbury, the North Island central plateau and Taihape district, Wairarapa, Gisborne, Wairoa and Hawke's Bay.

The National Drought Committee says 65 families are currently receiving rural assistance payments.

MAF says funding for rural support trusts and tax and welfare measures will be wound up at the end of December.