Matt King

You have been warned

by Matt King, Member of Parliament for Northland

A major rally in Ruawai brought town and country to deliver a strong and very real warning to the government.

The rally saw farmers, agriculturalists, local retailers from across Kaipara express real concern about the muddy and dead-end track that an out-of-touch government is sending the rural sector down.

Nor is it only the rural sector. If the government’s proposed policies on crucial issues such as freshwater and methane reduction are written into law in their current form, they will have a disastrous effect on farmers and the hundreds of companies and individuals who rely on farming for their livelihoods.

The people who gathered at Ruawai know that. What was astonishing, and remains so, is that apparently, the government does not?

They would, if they just talked to us — and listened. After all, nobody knows more about farming than farmers. Moreover, even that seems to be beyond them. Their ‘consultation’ with farmers on agricultural emissions is closed and lasted just five weeks. They didn’t do much better on their freshwater proposals — just eight weeks during farming’s busiest time of the year.

So, what we have here is a government that is not willing to listen and learn from those who know best about crucial issues affecting the country’s biggest industry — one that accounts for 70 per cent of our exports and countless jobs.

Well, here is a warning for the government: you had better start listening — because the voices from Ruawai that you chose not to hear will only grow.

There are other rallies planned for Whangarei, Hawke’s Bay, Waikato — in fact, right across the country. When town and country in rural New Zealand get together like this, that is a voice you do not want to ignore.