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Action Orange Begins

16 June 2005

Action Orange Begins

Thousands of farmers throughout New Zealand will today close their gates to public access to protest the government's access reforms, as a petition begins a week-long journey to Parliament, said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

"At 1pm on Thursday, June 16, farmers will show collectively that they do not want a bar of the proposed access legislation. Their protest is a direct result of a government taking private property rights and not listening to the legitimate concerns of rural people," Mr Lambie said at the campaign's official launch at National Agricultural Fieldays

Federated Farmers is asking all farmers and other land owners to close off public access over their farms for a week, and tie an orange ribbon to their closed gates as a visible sign of their protest.

"Since we unveiled the planned Action Orange campaign, the response from farmers and others has been overwhelmingly positive. I expect thousands of farm gates to be flying orange ribbons by the end of today."

The government wants to give members of the public, no matter their character or intent, the right to walk on private land along waterways. Farmers are absolutely opposed to this confiscation of their property rights, and alarmed at the increased risk posed to their security and livelihoods.

"In the vast majority of cases, farmers allow the public to walk on private farm land if permission is sought. But they do not want to lose the right to manage who enters their land. Just as urban people control access to their homes and businesses, farmers want to retain the right to say no to access in certain circumstances."

The 'Action Orange' protest beginning today will last until 1pm on Thursday, June 23, when a petition brought by farmers from the Far North, the East Coast, Stewart Island, and the West Coast will arrive at Parliament.

"During June 16-23, the Federation's land access petition will traverse the country, adding to its already 26,000 signatures. As it moves through each province, local Federated Farmers' members will be carrying out their own protest actions. Other actions are also planned.

To see the route of the petition, and other information on the campaign, go to www.fedfarm.org.nz

ENDS

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