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New Zealand Enduring Worst Droughts in 30 Years, Officials Say

First Posted: Mar 15, 2013 11:30 AM EDT

When one thinks of New Zealand landscape, it's easy to think of all that beautiful, lush nature that were captured in scenes from "Lord of the Rings" where the trilogy was shot. However, New Zealand officials announced a drought across its entire North Island for the first time in at least 30 years on Friday.

The drought is costing farmers millions of dollars each day and is beginning to take a toll on New Zealand's economy, according to the Associated Press. On Friday, the government officially declared its most widespread drought in at least 30 years.

The capital Wellington is said to have just 18 days of water left, and parts of the South Island could soon be hit. Fortunately, there is rainfall forecasted for the weekend which will hopefully bring some much needed relief.

Farming, a large portion of the country's economy, is estimated to lose about NZ$1bn (£544m; $820m) in earnings, according to the BBC news.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said: "Nearly all farmers in every part of the North Island are facing very difficult dry conditions."  Analysts note that New Zealand farmers face many challenges. Indeed, prices schedules of meat are under so-called downward pressure due to the dry conditions and challenging situation in Europe. And what is worse is that farmers are forced to reduce their stocks as they cannot simply feed them. This in turn will affect food processors and the New Zealand's economy in general.

According to the report, some scientists say the unusually dry weather could be a herald of climate change.

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