The rain of the last few days has brought some relief to parched paddocks but the week leading up to Christmas could be a trying time for some regions.

The Niwa drought monitor index highlights the Manawatū/Horowhenua/Rangitīkei area as especially hard hit.

National’s primary industries spokesman Nathan Guy said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor should declare a drought now, based on what the index indicated, but O’Connor said the criteria for classifying the conditions as a medium or large scale adverse event had not been met.

Federated Farmers Manawatū/Rangitīkei president Richard Morrison in lusher times early this year. The dry weather is biting hard, he says.

“We have a clear set of guidelines for responding to drought, which Mr Guy will know as he was a minister with responsibilities for such events in the previous Government. Officials are briefing me regularly,” O’Connor said in a statement.

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