Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Towns rally for Howl of a Protest

Neal Wallace
More than 40 towns and cities from Kaitaia to Invercargill will reverberate to the sounds of tractors and utilities on July 16, as farmers and tradies protest multiple government policies.
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Howl of a Protest is organised by pressure group Groundswell NZ, which says it is standing up for farmers, food producers, contractors, tradies and councils against what they claim to be a host of unworkable rules imposed by central government.

Organiser Laurie Paterson cannot say how many people will participate but says interest in the movement and the protest is growing with people frustrated by the deluge of government policy.

“They are sick of the avalanche of unworkable rules being dumped on them and the idea is to make a statement,” Paterson said.

He says elected local body representatives are telling him they have similar concerns with government policies.

The list of policies they oppose range from freshwater, significant natural areas (SNAs), indigenous biodiversity, immigration controls, climate change, Crown Pastoral Lease (CPLA) reforms and the tax on utilities to fund electric vehicle subsidies.

Groundswell is seeking the scrapping of the freshwater, SNA, biodiversity and ute tax policies, and changes to immigration, climate change and CPLA policies.

Paterson says central to the success of the protest is to “be in the news for the right reasons not the wrong ones”.

“We want to be sensible persuaders, not a bunch of rednecks,” he said.

He hopes tradies will signwrite their utes to show the public the variety of users and businesses that require them.

Paterson is also urging protesters to engage constructively with their urban cousins and explain the shortcomings of the policies that they oppose.

He believes they will find support.

“A number of urban people are not happy with what is happening,” he said.

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