Farmers protest Labour's tax policies

About 600 people turned up for the lively rally beside the giant 'Mega Cow' statue in...
About 600 people turned up for the lively rally beside the giant 'Mega Cow' statue in Morrinsville. Image: NZ Herald

Hundreds of farmers have gathered in Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's hometown of Morrinsville to protest against Labour and the Greens' proposed water and pollution charges.

Today's protest ended with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters being jeered at and drowned out by Myrtle the tractor as farmers demanded he say whether he would side with National or Labour after Saturday's election.\

About 600 turned up for the lively rally beside the giant 'Mega Cow' statue in Morrinsville - politicians were not allowed to speak but Mr Peters hijacked the stage at the end as the rain started to tip down.

As he held court standing in the rain under the cow - warning them to be just as dubious of National as Labour when it came to water "because they're just as bad as each other - the crowd started to jeer and heckle at him.

Afterwards Scott Smyth bailed him up about whether Mr Peters would allow the proposed water taxes to go ahead if in coalition with Labour. Mr Peters would not answer and other farmers pitched in demanding to know who he was going to go with.

NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo: NZ Herald
NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo: NZ Herald

Afterward Mr Smyth said Mr Peters was "buggering" his chances for Saturday's election by not saying if he would demand Labour removed the water taxes from the table if he was in government with them.

"I expect him to say what's he's likely to do - particularly if he goes with Labour which, let's face it, is something of a threat to us."

Mr Peters was not the only politician at the event - National MPs David Bennett, Louise Upston and Barbara Kuriger were there but did not speak.

The crowd was predominantly local farmers although some had come from the Taranaki, Northland, and the Hawkes Bay. They spilled out onto the adjacent yards on the main road through Morrinsville and on the side of the road.

Although it was not supposed to be a political rally, some carried placards aimed at Labour and leader Jacinda Ardern - such as "she's a pretty communist" and, on Myrtle the Tractor, "Jacinda + the Mob thinks food grows in supermarkets" and 'fart red for Labour."

There were also two National supporters sporting 'Townies for Farmers' placards.

Organiser, local farmer and Federated Farmers rep Andrew McGiven told the crowd it was not a political rally but was aimed at giving the farmers the chance to rebut some of the accusations they felt had been levelled at them.

Fellow organiser Lloyd Downing said it was held under the Mega Cow to show the media what a cow actually looked like. He said he was sick of seeing footage of beef cattle in a story about dairy farming.

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