‘Enough is enough’

The country came to town and boy did the town know about it.

Huge crowds swarmed into towns and cities across the South yesterday, united in their support of rural New Zealand.

From Oamaru to Invercargill, convoys of tractors, farm vehicles, trucks and utes joined thousands further north taking part in the Howl of a Protest event, organised by Groundswell New Zealand, protesting against what the rural sector says are unworkable government regulations.

A convoy of tractors heads along Princes St in Dunedin yesterday as part of Groundswell NZ’s Howl...
A convoy of tractors heads along Princes St in Dunedin yesterday as part of Groundswell NZ’s Howl of a Protest event. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
In Dunedin, the first tractor, driven by Jamie Marshall, rolled into the Octagon just after noon, to much cheering from the lunchtime city crowd, and the last vehicle went through about 3.30pm.

Mr Marshall, husband of the protest"s Dunedin organiser Gill Marshall, was thrilled to see the large turnout in support of the protest. People were starting to realise that, without farmers, they would be "pretty hungry", he said.

Mrs Marshall estimated at least 700 tractors and utes had taken part in Dunedin, possibly up to 1000.

Jim Macdonald, who drove his tractor in from his Clarks Junction farm, said the huge turnout was what he had hoped for but did not expect.

He praised Groundswell NZ co-founders Laurie Paterson and Bryce McKenzie for doing a "marvellous job".

Real estate agent Peter Wilson said he turned up to support farmers who were "just getting the raw end of the deal".

More than 1000 people listen to speeches during the protest gathering at the Gore A&P Showgrounds...
More than 1000 people listen to speeches during the protest gathering at the Gore A&P Showgrounds yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
There were new rules all the time and businesses were also affected.

"Everyone"s getting so many rules, you can"t keep up."

Despite the many concerns, nobody was listening, and it was like the Government had "earmuffs" on, he said.

Former Invermay director Dr Jock Allison, who spoke at the protest"s finale in Mosgiel, described it as a "magnificent protest".

Around the South they came from all corners, in utes, on tractors and horses, in helicopters and planes, with dogs and a message.

A low-key, no-fuss crowd of more than 1000 people at the movement"s epicentre in Gore filled the A&P showgrounds, where farmers Mr McKenzie, of West Otago, and Mr Paterson, of Waikaka, delivered Groundswell"s "Enough is enough" message outlining the group"s concerns and giving the Government a month to address them, or it would take further action.

Groundswell had "put a stake in the ground and said enough is enough".

They said the support the movement had received across New Zealand was "humbling" and was "quite amazing".

Elsewhere, a parade of more than 350 tractors and utes took more than two hours to get through Balclutha, while in Oamaru a gathering of more than 1000 people and vehicles took a similar time to pass through, though its knock-on effect of slowing traffic on State Highway 1 on both sides of the town took a while longer to recede.

Hundreds of people and vehicles met at the Wanaka Showgrounds, jamming traffic in the area, while people in about 1000 utes, many resplendent with barking dogs, gathered in Alexandra"s Pioneer Park before driving down Centennial Ave.

Tractors became Queenstown"s newest tourist attraction, as about a dozen led the protest through the town"s centre.

Invercargill organiser Bruce Robertson estimated at least 500 people attended there, and 140 utes, 55 tractors, five helicopters and one fixed-wing plane turned out in Te Anau.

While the crowds appeared overwhelmingly in support, there were some with a different view.

In Dunedin, Alenna McLean stood in the middle of the street holding a sign which said "No Farming on a Dead Planet"".

She was approached by a man who grabbed it from her and screwed it up.

Later, Ms McLean said the Government should assist farmers to move to regenerative farming practices.

Agriculture Minister Damien O"Connor said he appreciated farmers" concerns and others raised at the protests.

"But we also need to keep the commitments we have made to make rivers clean and swimmable, address climate change and fix our planning laws.

"As a country we can"t stand still. If we want to make sure our exports continue to fetch a high price and are highly valued, we have to make progress on these challenges that New Zealand and the world faces or our competitors will move ahead of us.

"We are listening and have heard the concerns raised today.""

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stood firm on the Government"s commitments.

Earlier this week she said she understood the primary sector was facing "significant challenges"", but said delaying reforms of the rural economy would be "more damaging"".

Reducing emissions and cleaning up waterways was important for New Zealand"s brand internationally.

Comments

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The governmental technocrats have their goals and farmers are in their sights for 'new controls'. Maybe once the populace goes hungry or broke (with all the compliance costs that we all have to pay), we get rid of the pen-pushers out. We should not punish the hand that feeds us. (ps. the government does not feed us- they only tax us and waste approx half of that tax- who pays all those nice Wellington/Auckland salaries? and their houses/roads/tunnels?- you do, if you are a tax payer)

I was told by a farmer friend that he had never paid tax! Shocked as I was, it made me wonder how many other farmer businesses did not pay tax. Clever accounting, grants and subsidies must involve a lot of pen-pushers OtagoIdeas.

I appreciate farmers and that working to counter global warming is costing all of us, but why clog up the already too narrow main road of Mosgiel both going and returning--the latter a disgrace? Farmers, I see your activities have clogged up the 'dead' steam that flows through Mosgiel with poisonous algae, why clog up the streets? When you allow the government to help you clean up the water systems, we all will be better off.

"Father of former National MP Katherine Rich, Dr Jock Allison....."
There. Fixed it for you.

Judging by the poorly spelt signs calling our PM a 'commie' & a 'bitch', most thinking people have seen this Opposition organised "protest" for what it was.
Sad.

Yes, you hit it on the head- it was a political rally. Righter than right.

International trade, that's the key to this, either we want to stay competitive or we lose out.
Shoppers around the world, especially in Europe where they take the issues around climate change a lot more seriously than we do are looking for goods that are produced from sustainable practices, that are not adding to greenhouse gases and/or poisoning our planet. At the same time they are also learning that NZ is not the clean green place it promotes itself as, they know most of our waterways are polluted.
The countries that buy our produce have already started auditing NZ farms that produce the food they are buying. They have audited the processing factories for hygiene etc for decades but this is now moving to the auditing of farms looking at how or even if sustainable practices are applied. If they are not satisfied they will not buy our goods. We will lose our markets to other countries that are on the ball.
The new regulations are primarily in place to deal with this. The question is, who should pay to ensure we don't lose the markets, the farmers who created the problem or the NZ taxpayer. I say the farmers who created the problem.

NZ Farming should be 'clean' if we are to continue with international trade. Customers will insist on it.

"Earlier this week she said she understood the primary sector was facing "significant challenges"", but said delaying reforms of the rural economy would be "more damaging""."
"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stood firm on the Government"s commitments."
"Next New Zealand general election, Saturday, 13 January 2024"

Try standing firm from the opposition benches and see where that gets you, Jacinda !!!
We are still a democracy.

I agree, we are still a democracy. That means, and has always meant, the majority rules.
A couple of hundred noisy farmers who seem unable to take responsibility for a problem they caused is not a majority. They should all go home, show some of the backbone they claim to be and get on with the job.

"Agriculture Minister Damien O"Connor said he appreciated farmers" concerns and others raised at the protests" weasel words...
"Earlier this week she said she understood the primary sector was facing "significant challenges"", but said delaying reforms of the rural economy would be "more damaging" gotta keep agenda21 happy....

Anger pushes facts aside. Yes i agree that electric vehicles maybe more problematic but other aspects of the protest show there is an undertone of right wing politics being silently thrust under these farmers. Water reforms are well overdue and climate change is real. However those angry who dream of Jacinda being put on the opposition are in fact dreaming. There is no opposition. I appreciate the Nats and their rural supporters are still going through a massive grieving process but name calling and false allegations about Jacinda are driving people in fact towards her. All PMs are unpopular anywhere in the world but the climate change and water reform protesters outnumber the farming protesters. So what does one do??
Are you farmers aware of what we in Chch endured under John Key & Brownlee? More suicides than farmers. Where did their borrowed money go to?? No hospitals were repaired/ replaced, no nurses pay, schools closed, police numbers slashed. And how would Judith have given you farmers Covid management? China & Aussie travel freely and deaths the same as the UK. So thankyou Jacinda.

The majority of Farmers work hard to meet sustainable environmental objectives, these Farmers do not need Government interference. The outcome of the current Government legislation will ultimately not meet the intended outcomes they seek - history tells us that solutions put in place to avoid predicted future problems only create more and bigger problems than the original prediction. The Farmers need to give NZ a taste of the destruction of the Farming industry ie: no food. So, the next protest would be to surround all the Supermarkets in NZ with their tractors so no one can get in to buy food = reality of the outcome of a biased Governments meddling in an area they are lacking awareness in.

History tells us? I can think of no examples that fit your unusual assertion.
But then I'm not an expert, please enlighten us with some examples.
The principle problem with your plan to blockade supermarkets is that therebis not enough farmers. You need to realise they are a very small minority in NZ and are becoming less relevant with passing years.

Labeling the Farmers protest as driven by the polictly right is completely erroneous. The majority of Labour MPs are career politicians or have come from teaching back grounds, very few have a business back ground. I worked for a government entity a few years back and, having come from a business back ground, I was horrified at the way management operated in this particular entity. If it was a business it would have been destroyed within a year. None of the management had any business experience yet they seemed to live in this delusion of grandeur whilst being totally naive. Farmers are business people and do not need a Government (lacking business experience) to tell them how to run their businesses.

Anger pushes facts aside. Yes i agree that electric vehicles maybe more problematic but other aspects of the protest show there is an undertone of right wing politics being silently thrust under these farmers. Water reforms are well overdue and climate change is real. However those angry who dream of Jacinda being put on the opposition are in fact dreaming. There is no opposition. I appreciate the Nats and their rural supporters are still going through a massive grieving process but name calling and false allegations about Jacinda are driving people in fact towards her. All PMs are unpopular anywhere in the world but the climate change and water reform protesters outnumber the farming protesters. So what does one do??
Are you farmers aware of what we in Chch endured under John Key & Brownlee? More suicides than farmers. Where did their borrowed money go to?? No hospitals were repaired/ replaced, no nurses pay, schools closed, police numbers slashed. And how would Judith have given you farmers Covid management? China & Aussie travel freely and deaths the same as the UK. So thankyou Jacinda.

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