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Westpac Slammed Over Drought Comments

19 April 2013

NEW ZEALAND – Federated Farmers has emphasised the deleterious effects of this year’s drought following claims from finance provide Westpac that the overall economy will not be effected.

Drought legacy can last a long time with herds requiring rebuilding and pastures repairing, this requires rainfall and until then many areas remain in a precarious state.

This is what Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson has said in repsonse to Westpac economists who have underplayed the damage drought can do to New Zealand's economy.

While some areas have received rain to alleviate drought pressure, things remain tough for many. One farmer has reported a 30,000 kilo drop in milksolids production, which equates to a monetary loss of NZ$ 180,000.

“Things are looking up in the Bay of Plenty but they remain tough in Hauraki-Coromandel. The West Coast of North Island, from South Auckland all the way north, remains pretty dry,” Mrs Milne stressed. “I can add to that the North Island’s East Coast, parts of the Waikato and the Central North Island. While Manawatu is out of the woods, Rangitikei remains firmly gripped by drought.”

Establishing seed before the cold season sets in will be a close run thing as the days get shorter and the country prepares to drift into one set of bad conditions to another.

“With feed at a premium we could be facing a tough winter of constrained feed; a winter of discontent if you like that will put us on the back foot for spring,” added Mrs Milne.

“Knowing these effects personally and professionally, I am amazed Westpac’s economists could believe the drought will have no effect on the economy.”

Federated Farmers has underlined farming as vital to the national economy listing the red meat as New Zealand’s second largest export.

Capital stock numbers have been reduced ‘down to the bone’. The lamb outlook is particularly negative given the sheep breeding season has come into full swing over the last two months, at the peak of the drought.

“Farms are biological systems, and not factories,” concluded Mrs Milne. This, she stressed is why drought effects will be felt for years.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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