Farm machinery lines up for a parade through Dargaville

Farm rally salutes town support

by Paul Campbell

Climate change legislation, carbon emissions, water policy and tree-planting, were all drivers of last week’s farmer’s rally with a parade through Dargaville that event organisers say was impressive because of the town support they received.

“It was a great turnout of about 300 farmers and rural support businesses,” said organiser Mark Cameron “We also felt for some farmers attending who felt life had just become about death and taxes, and it was hugely good to see the support we received from Dargaville businesses and also the local people. They gave us a very animated reception.”

The Dargaville rally was reflected by a same-day farmers’ march on parliament, labelled by Regional Development Minister Shane Jones, as an action by “rednecks.”

“His, was an abhorrent display,” said Mr Cameron. “He was unable to come up with an intellectual response, so he chose to pontificate and do nothing but attack. He made a fool of himself.” Mr Cameron stressed that the rally was “not about political point-scoring, but a show of unity and support for a rural community” he says has been excluded from meaningful dialogue over legislation affecting their livelihoods.

“All this legislation does is throw rural New Zealand under the bus with the cost of compliance.”

Another major concern at both the Dargaville and Wellington events was the government’s ‘billion trees’ policy, which is considered as encroaching on productive farmland.

The Dargaville rally was addressed by the deputy leader of Act, Beth Houlbrooke, a former Waipu farmer.