Farmers set for protest parade
by Paul Campbell
A major rural protest rally at Dargaville racecourse, complete with a motorcade of tractors, other farm vehicles and trucks through the town’s streets is set for Thursday, November 14.
The event will coincide with a march to parliament being organised by a farming lobby group, which claims the rural sector is not being listened to by politicians.
“We expect anywhere between 150 and 300 farmers and rural support industries at the Dargaville event,” said organiser, Ruawai dairy farmer, Mark Cameron. He held a similar event in Ruawai in September as part of a wider movement protesting at government’s lack of consultation with the industry. They want more and meaningful debate over what is seen as draconian demands affecting their livelihoods, including carbon emissions and water.
The town parade is expected to leave the racecourse at 11.30am. The Dargaville rally will align with a Wellington event being organised by the lobby group 50 Shades of Green, which is protesting the impact of the government’s billion trees policy on rural communities.
Described as “a provincial get-together” it is drawing on lower North Island rural support. Shades of Green chair Andy Scott said it wanted to get its message out to a larger audience.
“The blanket planting of good farmland has reached crisis proportions. Add to that the water proposals, land-use changes and the consistent campaign against rural businesses, we have a problem.”
“It isn’t just farmers coming to town but representatives of all of provincial NZ from farmers to bankers, stock agents to rural advocacy groups and suppliers through to real estate representatives.”