Howl organisers planning even larger protest

Tractors converge on the Octagon in Dunedin during last month’s Howl of a Protest. PHOTO: STEPHEN...
Tractors converge on the Octagon in Dunedin during last month’s Howl of a Protest. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Groundswell New Zealand says it is planning a "major nationwide protest event" in November, following a lack of response by the Government to its concerns.

Although a date was yet to be set and details of the event outlined, spokesman Bryce McKenzie, of West Otago, said it would be "of a scale and impact that will be significant in New Zealand’s history".

Last month, convoys of thousands of tractors and utes took part nationally in Groundswell NZ’s Howl of a Protest event, protesting against what it says are unworkable government regulations.

Its Enough is Enough message, outlining the group’s concerns, which was delivered at the protests, gave the Government a month to address the issues, or it would take further action.

Yesterday, Mr McKenzie said various campaign actions would be undertaken before the November protest.

The first was this Friday and called Can Your Hear Us? At 12.30pm, Groundswell NZ was calling for a show of two minutes’ support "by every car, bike, truck, train — anything with a horn" tooting in support of its campaign. That would be repeated every Friday for the following three weeks.

Asked whether he believed there would be as much support as for Howl of a Protest, Mr McKenzie said he was confident there would be "a lot more".

There were indications from people not part of the first protest, because it was held during the week, that they would like to be involved, along with some in the transport industry.

There had been "no let-up" for the Groundswell NZ team since Howl of a Protest.

"It’s full on all the time now. People are wanting more," he said.

The group was also writing to all councils calling for a halt to all Resource Management Act planning processes.

That was mainly because of the significant negative impact zonings such as SNAs (significant natural areas), wetlands and landscapes were having on people and their property values, Mr McKenzie said.

The group was also calling for landowners to decline access for councils or their agents wanting to undertake mapping or information gathering on private land.

The group’s campaign was primarily concerned about the "unworkable" regulations including freshwater, indigenous biodiversity and climate change. It recently added the Three Waters reform and Water Services Bill to the list.

Mr McKenzie reiterated the group was not against the need for regulation nor the need to care for the environment. Nor was it calling for a halt to addressing environmental issues.

"We are saying there are much better, proven solutions to addressing environmental issues than the one size fits all approach being legislated by the Government."

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor yesterday acknowledged farmers had legitimate concerns about pressures they were facing, particularly relating to staff shortages.

However, it was simply not true to say the Government did not care for farmers or that it did not listen to them.

"The reality is that we do listen to farmers. Partnership is fundamental in our approach to tackling issues," he said.

He outlined various measures the Government had put in place to support the primary industry including amending planned freshwater regulations and extending the essential worker visa programme.

"What concerns me about some of the protest messages is that the wider public may come away with a perception that farmers are opposed to improving freshwater quality, participating in our climate change response, managing animal welfare, or are not appreciative of the collaborative efforts Government is making with the sector."

sally.rae@odt.co.nz

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"However, it was simply not true to say the Government did not care for farmers or that it did not listen to them" the govt doesn't, the govt likes the money the farmers bring in though......

Tedious, obstructive protest that gives nobody the horn.

If Mr O'Connor's 'reality' were true, the farmers wouldn't be protesting. Time for politicians to start listening to the people who feed New Zealand

This appears to have been written by someone that hasn't done the supermarket shopping for a while. The amount of cheaper, better quality, imported food being made available in NZ is increasing, exponentially. This includes meat and dairy. Also, in even small communities all around the nation more and more people are shopping for fresh food at Farmers Markets. These are serviced by the increasing number of agricultural people who are turning to sustainable, organic farming methods. It's time farmers woke up to their customers needs and realised that people are seeking out products that are produced by sustainable methods. This is as true in NZ as it it for our major export customers. These dinosaurs that make up Groundswell are going to be left behind.

This government doesn't care for the majority of Kiwis either. Good to see them going down in the polls.

Remove all tax concessions for tractors and fuel. Taxpayers should not be paying so that rich landowners can fight for the right to pollutes rivers that belong to everyone.
Stop the excuses, these farmers are fighting for the right to pollute for profit, they hold the moral low ground here and they deserve no sympathy. If they can't farm without polluting rivers, then let someone else have the land.

Any further protests from this group of ingrates will simply lose them support. They do not represent the farming community that have moved on demonstrating the best practices.

Bully boy tactics that shame the profession.

You just watch, the farmers will be the first to whine when they are stuffed by climate change! They will all line up looking for a hand out when they get flooded out, burnt out or suffer a drought. And just watch them moan when other countries add trade tariffs to NZ exports because NZ isn't doing enough and the NZ farmers have an unfair advantage over the local farmers.

Global survey finds 74% want protecting nature prioritised over jobs and profit. The Ipsos Mori survey for the Global Commons Alliance (GCA) also found a majority (58%) were very concerned or extremely concerned about the state of the planet.

This is what these Groundswell people don't recognise. The countries buying agricultural products are already asking the countries they are buying from, "Are you using sustainable farming practices to produce these products?". If an individual farmer can't answer that with a "Yes" then he will find that NZ freezing works will not accept his animals for slaughter, or Fonterra will not accept his milk for processing. They did this over riparian planting, they'll do it over fresh water management.
The Groundswell dinosaurs just do not recognise the metaphorical meteor that is heading towards them.

No people could be more understanding, more interested, more caring for the stock, crops and the land than those who live on the land to farm it. Farmers love the land, they love NZ and they have every right to protest and make a bit of noise about how they have been treated by the government. Townies and tradies and others should join them as they did on 16th July and stand up for our freedoms so we can get clear of this present oppressive regime and be allowed to live as we can all live in harmony and co-operation without nanny state.

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