Australian farmers are being offered a break from the country’s crippling drought through free holidays in New Zealand.
New Zealand farmers are loaning their holiday homes to the visitors through a programme involving the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) and discount airline Jetstar. “Some of the stories we have heard from across the Tasman are heart-wrenching,” FFNZ president Charlie Pedersen said. Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce said 100 free return flights to New Zealand will be laid on for drought-affected farmers and their families.
“A well-deserved break is a step toward relieving the stress and hardships.” New figures show record numbers of Australian farmers turning to government financial help to get them through the drought.
The number of farmers and small businesses accessing income support in the three states hit hardest by the drought – New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – has now exceeded 13 000. – Alan Harman