Mother of All Protests gets city backers

Bryce McKenzie and co-founder Laurie Paterson on the Paterson family's Greenvale farm which is...
Bryce McKenzie and co-founder Laurie Paterson. PHOTO: SHARON PATERSON
Town and country together.

That’s part of Groundswell NZ’s mantra before its second major protest, Mother of All Protests, on Sunday, November 21, when people would be encouraged to drive to their local town, stay in their vehicle and listen for a Groundswell statement to be read on the Newstalk ZB radio frequency at 1.35pm.

Co-founder Laurie Paterson said momentum had continued to build since thousands of farmers, and a fair few dogs, descended on towns and cities throughout the country for Howl of a Protest, to oppose what they called unworkable regulations.

More centres were on board for the next protest, including Napier and Tauranga, and a huge turnout, including many tradies, was expected in Auckland.

Groundswell NZ had created an online tool for supporters to write to Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor, ‘‘to tell him to do his job and stick up for rural communities’’, the group said.

Since launching last Friday, it had generated about 5000 letters. Hard copies would be delivered to Mr O’Connor’s Beehive office before the protest.

Copies would be sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

Mr Paterson said virtually all feedback and phone calls before Howl of a Protest were from rural people but this time it was the opposite with the calls coming out of cities.

‘‘That’s part of our mantra this time ... town and country together,’’ he said.

There were expectations of those attending Mother of All Protests, including obeying road rules, local Covid-19 rules and making way for emergency services. Participants needed to stay in their vehicle and not compromise their bubble, he said.

The Groundswell NZ message would be read by co-founder Bryce McKenzie, who would drive into Gore along with Mr Paterson. The pair have recently had meetings with Federated Farmers, Beef+Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Horticulture New Zealand, discussing a range of topics.



It is essential that the government helps our farmers transition to a better way of producing our food.

Our food systems are a major driver of climate change, responsible for approximately 35% of all human-driven greenhouse gas emissions and up to a third of all global deforestation. Animal agriculture is a major source of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as well as being a significant consumer of limited critical resources such as land and water. Agriculture is a principal driver of accelerating biodiversity loss, with land conversion for animal grazing alongside growing of crops for animal feed responsible for widespread habitat and biodiversity decline . We are also facing large-scale ocean dead zones and a rapid loss of critical marine ecosystems due to industrial overfishing.

Several peer-reviewed studies highlight that if global meat consumption continues on projected trajectories, agricultural emissions will take up the entire world’s carbon budget by 2050, with animal agriculture a major contributor.

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