Federated Farmers says farmers will protest in Jacinda Ardern's hometown of Morrinsville 5 days before the election over 'continued attacks on rural New Zealand'

Federated Farmers says farmers will hold a protest to “express their frustration with the continued attacks on rural New Zealand” in Morrinsville, hometown of Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern, next Monday.

A press release from Federated Farmers quotes Morrinsville farmer Lloyd Downing saying; “Farmers, and farming communities, are not punching bags for urban politicians.” The press release argues water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders and criticises the concept of a water tax, which is being proposed by Labour ahead of the September 23 election.

Yesterday Radio NZ reported on a group of Central Otago farmers who are asking Ardern to visit their farms to discuss Labour’s water tax plans.

“The group of women, known as Water Maniototo, say they cannot afford a royalty on irrigated water, planned at one to two cents per thousand litres of water, and it could drive some off their land,” RNZ reported.

Labour is also proposing to add agriculture to the Emissions Trading Scheme as part of its climate change policy, which Federated Farmers maintains will cost the livestock sector at least $83 million in year one, rising to more than $830 million each year when fully implemented.

The full press release is below.

Farmer protest planned

Farming communities of New Zealand are being given the opportunity to express their frustration with the continued attacks on rural New Zealand.

A protest will be held on Monday 18 September at 12pm in Morrinsville.

“Farmers, and farming communities, are not punching bags for urban politicians,” Morrinsville farmer Lloyd Downing says.

“The lack of fairness, and consistency in some of the proposed policies, and the laying of blame solely at the feet of rural New Zealand for all of our environmental challenges is what is frustrating farmers – particularly when it is well known that the most polluted waterways are in urban catchments.

“The water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders. Farmers recognise that, and are spending tens of thousands of dollars each on reducing their environmental impact,” Mr Downing says. 

“Policies which increase taxes on farming businesses will not only put their financial viability at risk, but it risks jobs and takes money out of regional towns and cities that do well when farmers do well,” Te Aroha farmer Andrew McGiven says.

“Perversely, policies like a water tax also reduce the amount farmers can spend on improving water quality.

“The march is an opportunity for farmers to express solidarity with each other, so they know they are not the only ones battling these concerns. We invite all supporters of rural New Zealand to attend this event,” Mr McGiven says.

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