'The eastern coasts of both islands are very dry, with Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, coastal Marlborough, north-mid Canterbury, and Otago rapidly approaching drought status. Other areas that are also relatively dry include the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa, and Manawatu.
'I am especially aware that many farmers are still recovering from the last drought, and have been working hard to build feed reserves, restock their farms and improve stock conditions.
'The financial and social stress of another drought on these farmers would be considerable. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is monitoring the situation closely.
'At the Rural Support Trust annual meeting in Wellington last month I confirmed the continuation of funding for the trusts for their important work with rural communities around adverse events like droughts.
'These trusts play an important role in providing advice. I encourage farmers to consult their local trust for information, support and advice. There is a network of 14 trusts covering all regions.
'The Government is committed to doing all it can to support our rural communities.'