Wednesday, 05 May 2021 13:55

Farmers fight back on new rules

Written by  David Anderson
More than 400 farmers attended a recent series of Groundswell NZ meetings around Canterbury and the West Coast. More than 400 farmers attended a recent series of Groundswell NZ meetings around Canterbury and the West Coast.

More than 400 farmers attended a recent series of Groundswell NZ meetings around Canterbury and the West Coast to discuss new freshwater and biodiversity rules being imposed on the farming sector.

"We have been blown away by the farmer engagement at our meetings," says Groundswell spokesman and Otago farmer Bryce McKenzie.

Farmer and environmentalist Jane Smith, a former Ballance Farm Environment Award winner, was one of the key speakers at the meetings. She told farmers to not just accept everything that is put in front of them.

"Once regulations are enshrined in law, they will be with us forever - while those who enact them will come and go," Smith told the meetings.

She also believes that the farming sector needs one, strong voice.

“Our advocacy spokespeople need to be listening to grassroots farmers and not simply appeasing idealistic lawmakers.”

Smith also questioned why the Government seemed hell-bent on destroying the NZ farming sector when NZ farmers are the most efficient sustainable food producers in the world.

She says a more pragmatic pathway to good environmental outcomes, without destroying the fabric of NZ’s rural society, included working alongside regional councils to ensure commonsense prevails and the inter-generational, communal work underway – driven by catchment groups – is not undermined by an “outlandish generic consent process”.

The other key speaker, Jamie McFadden, of the Rural Advocacy Network based in Canterbury, explained the implications of the proposed freshwater and indigenous biodiversity regulations.

McFadden says these regulations are “unworkable” and would deliver outcomes that will be worse for the country’s natural environment and waterways.

He told the meetings there are more simple solutions available to NZ’s environmental issues – such as operating under one, integrated legislation.

Following these meetings, McKenzie says Groundswell is looking at implementing a range of actions to put a stop to the regulations.

“We are currently looking for regional coordinators to help us share information and keep farmers informed as more protest actions unfold,” he says. “Groundswell is already well established in Southland/Otago and coordinators for the West Coast are now underway.”

More like this

Over-the-top, state control

Rural Advocacy Network chairman Jamie McFadden was a key speaker at the recent round of Groundswell NZ meetings. He spoke about the push for Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) and why these may not be the great cure-all many are claiming. Here is an edited version of the speech...

Groundswell of farmer angst

Environmentalist and North Otago farmer Jane Smith says her alliance with Groundswell NZ and the Rural Advocacy Network during a recent South Island tour is not some type of underground gangster movement.


An 'amaizing' change

The success of some of the early Māori adopters in the kiwifruit industry is starting to catch on.

Machinery & Products

Made in NZ... Hansen Products

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive…

New models mark seventh decade

Celebrating its 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just…

Kubota's new autumn offerings

Kubota, which is gaining traction in the agricultural sector with an ever-broadening portfolio, has announced some additions for autumn.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims…


OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter