[20 January/ Radio NZ Rural]

The government has announced an additional $150,000 of funding for Rural Support Trusts, to help famers struggling through drought in parts of the South Island’s east coast. Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy said the help included support and community events, professional meetings and one-on-one mentoring through the support trusts, as well as rural assistance payments and flexible tax obligations for people in extreme hardship. Mr Guy added that recent rain had come as a relief, but a lot more was needed. The official drought in Canterbury, Marlborough and parts of Otago has been extended by a further six months.