Drought declared across northern New ZealandBy New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz, Wednesday March 6, 2013 - 18:18 EDT
A state of drought has been declared in much of New Zealand's North Island.
Northland and the north of Auckland were given official drought status last month.
That has now been extended to four other areas South Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Hawkes Bay.
And with little rain forecast over coming weeks, it is likely other areas of the North Island may follow suit.
Drought in 2007 cost the country as much as $2.5 billion and farmers fear this drought could be just as damaging.
Stock feed is in short supply, farmers are selling off their animals and milk production in affected areas is down 10 to 20 per cent.
This past summer in Auckland was the second driest in 50 years.
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
Territorians should brace themselves for a very wet week, with rainfalls of up to 300 millimetres expected in some areas.
Severe thunderstorms are affecting three states this afternoon.
New Zealand is experiencing an unseasonably cool summer, whilst parts of eastern Australia endure their hottest start to the year on record.