Town and country join to support Southland farmers

"We don’t want to break the law. We don’t want to destroy the environment. We just want to be farmers doing what we do best.”

Those were the words of farming advocate Suzanne Hannigan about the Government’s freshwater legislation.

Federated Farmers and the Southland Chamber of Commerce promoted an event yesterday - the Town and Country Hui - for Southland farmers and "townies" so all could come to learn about the regulations.

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey said the main idea was bringing town and country together in support of Southland’s farmers.

Southland Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young and Southland Chamber of Commerce chief...
Southland Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young and Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey pose with a tractor, one of about 150 vehicles that were part of the Town and Country Hui in Invercargill. PHOTOS: LUISA GIRAO
"Our economy is cushioned by the rural sector and so we need these guys. The whole region needs them and we should support them.

"They supported us through Covid - that’s why our economy hasn’t tanked, so we need to show up today and show them that we are grateful."

Federated Farmers vice-president Bernadette Hunt said the event was not a protest, but a show of unity and camaraderie in Southland and a chance for everyone to learn about how the freshwater legislation would affect them.

"It is often said when a farmer sneezes, the whole economy catches a cold.

"So this is about everybody coming together and recognising that it is important farmers can be successful and do what they need to do — but we also want to protect freshwater as well. [We] have a lot of ways we can do both."

Hannah (7) and Charlotte (11) Hunt cuddle Willow, their pet calf.
Hannah (7) and Charlotte (11) Hunt cuddle Willow, their pet calf.

Ms Hunt said farmers had three messages for the Government.

"The best solution to Southland challenges will be developed in Southland.

"Cultivation and planting will happen when conditions are appropriate.

"Southland can and must balance a healthy economy and healthy freshwater."

The event was attended by hundreds of farmers and their families, who arrived in their farm vehicles and enjoyed a barbecue with live music, while the children had fun with a bouncy castle, a farm animal petting zoo and face painting.


The prosperity of many farmers and rural towns are dependent on the profits that can be made from their businesses. What farmers and most humans do best is to look after themselves even if it's at the expense of others. Farmers were fortunate to be cushioned from the economic effects of the pandemic, but now see the new regulations as a threat to their wealth. So don't be fooled by all the emotive crap and into thinking that they all deeply care about the environment, animals and whatever. This is all about MONEY!!!

I agree with this comment. Time to drink a cup of concrete farmers. Toughen up. Get on with tidying up your mess.

@ Pat. And Ird. This is about more than money - it's about Government overreach, applying the same poorly thought-out blanket legislation to the whole country. Mandating when farmers can and cannot plant their crops is absurd. And applying the same policy to Northland, Southland and everywhere in between is plain ignorant. The headache + cost of having to apply for resource consent in order to plant winter crops will cripple many. - What if your farm is 95% rolling/steep terrain in South Otago? If consent isn't given to plant a crop of turnips? Carry no livestock for the winter?