Farmers to discuss further protests at Waimumu meeting

The crowd gathers for the meeting in Waimumu. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
The crowd gathers for the meeting in Waimumu. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Farmers are meeting near Gore to consider more protest action against controversial new freshwater rules.

More than 500 people are at the meeting at The Woolshed Function Centre on the Southern Field Days site in Waimumu.

The meeting is run by farmer’s group, Groundswell.

The group was formed after farmers drove more than 100 tractors through central Gore in October last year to protest the new rules, which were introduced a month earlier.

A petition seeking a rewrite of the rules had received more than 2500 signatures.

The group is seeking a rewrite of the Ministry for the Environment's new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater which aims to improve freshwater quality and widen the range of activities requiring resource consents and tighten conditions for many existing consents.

Groundswell spokesman Bryce McKenzie watches farmers enter a meeting at Waimumu today. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Groundswell spokesman Bryce McKenzie watches farmers enter a meeting at Waimumu today. Photo: Shawn McAvinue

Groundswell spokesman and dairy farmer Bryce McKenzie, of Pomahaka, speaking to the Otago Daily Times before the meeting at 4pm today, said catchment groups and regional councils should be setting the regulations.

“There no one-size-fits-all for the whole of New Zealand.”

Farmers who had registered online to attend the meeting were asked if they would pay into a “fighting fund to support farmers who are using best practices but are prosecuted under these unworkable rules?” and if they would be prepared to withhold any rates to any regional council which enforces the new rules.

More “rolling tractor protests” were planned for next month, the questionnaire said.

Speakers at the meeting include North Otago farmer and environmentalist Jane Smith.

- Read more in tomorrow’s ODT.

Comments

The heart of the farmers objection is money. Specifically their money, they don't want to spend any. It really is that simple. All this talk of unworkable rules is a smokescreen to hide their greed.
They, their parents, their great grandparents a possibly the great greats have exploited the resources without a thought to sustainability or conservation and they want to continue doing so.
Well... The good times are over. The countries that you want to sell your exports too are now requiring their suppliers to demonstrate, provide evidence, that the animals and produce coming off NZ farms were grown using sustainable farming methods. If we can't demonstrate that they won't buy our products.
Farmers, get your act together and start changing your ways or you will lose your markets. You caused the problem that the regulations were set up to fix, you can pay for the solutions. Cut the cry baby whinging, put your hand in your pocket and get on with the job.
If it means that your piece of land becomes unprofitable then that's tough, do what the rest of us do when we're made redundant, retrain, move to new location and start over. What bunch of sooks.

Couldn't agree more. I have witnessed my family's ancestral farms on the banks of the Pomahaka, Crookburn, and other waterways take generations of abuse. There is hardly a stick of decent riparian native vegetation left on the lower rivers and streams next to the intensive farms of South Otago and Southland. I have no sympathy whatsoever for those entitled farmers that want their cake and eat it too. For decades we have had to listen to these people complain and bleat about how it's not their fault. How the greenies are holding us ransom. The Govt. this, the authorities that...
WE ARE OVER IT. We do need clean water. We do need increased native biodiversity and we do need farmers to act responsibly for a change.

Sadly you seem to be out of touch with the reality of farming and how nature works. Even a year 4 student will know that conditions in Northland are different to those in Southland. Seems like neither you or the government understand that. I can only conclude you have never been on a farm recently or know any farmers. Maybe you should air your views at the Gore meeting.

Really Ird?? Do you realise that our farmers are among the most sustainable on the planet? Our Sheep and Beef sector is Carbon neutral and NZ milk has the lowest carbon footprint in the world. Farmers recieve no subsidies unlike the likes of the US or EU so they do invest 'their' own money on improving environmental outcomes. So what is your point? Once you realise how much the National Policy Statement for freshwater is going to impact urban NZ's rates I am sure you will have something to moan about too.
Then we can 'moan' together about the impracticalities of a one size fits all policy that won't neccesarily achieve the best outcome for New Zealanders.
Our farming operation is Carbon positive.....but no one is lining up to pay us for Carbon credits or more for our produce. Maybe one day :) Maybe you will?

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