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Rural Protest leads To Opposition Bickering

Rural Protest leads To Opposition Bickering

The odd border collie was press-ganged into protesting against the Government.

Farmers up and down the country have been protesting against the Government's proposal to have a five-metre walking accessway along significant waterways. Today Federated Farmers launched its Visitor Access Protocol and handed over a petition protesting against the Government’s land access proposal. The protest was colourful but rather small.

ACT and National Party MPs spent more time engaging in verbal altercations with each other than any Government MP’s. ACT’s Rural Affairs spokesperson Gerry Eckhoff was particularly vocal in abusing the absent National Party MP Nick Smith, and Dr Smith's proposals for rural access. National Party associate spokesman for Agriculture, Shane Ardern attempted to ingratiate himself with the discontented rural masses by assuring them National was on their side. Most of the ACT Party MPs, some wearing orange fright wigs assured the protestors the National Party was very definitely not on their side.

A number of the discontented rural protestors were themselves a tad grumpy with the ACT Party. Some expressed to Scoop their indignation that the ACT Party had hijacked their protest. Maori Party Leader Tariana Turia who had last week attacked the Government’s land access proposals was not spotted by Scoop at the protest. Last week Federated Farmers confirmed Ms Turia had contacted them and was encouraging Iwi to attend the protest. No visible Maori Party presence was observed by Scoop during the protest however.

A small minority of the protestors were from outdoor recreational groups who seemed to think a third way was possible between the Governments proposals and the farmers desire to shut their gates and leave them tied up with orange ribbons.


A small well behaved protest outside Parliament.

Orange was the colour of the day for the rural protest action.

National party Leader Don Brash with National MP Shane Ardern. Mr Ardern left his tractor behind following a spot of bother last year.

Silly hats and orange fright wigs were in abundance. Mr Rodney Hide the leader of the ACT Party wears a slightly crooked fright wig on the right.

ACT MP Ken Shirley looked more comfortable than his party leader wearing an orange fright wig.

ACT MP Heather Roy bucked the trend of her fellow MP’s and chose not to wear a silly orange wig.

Tom Lambie of Federated Farmers gives a speech opposing land access proposals outside Parliament.

Verbal and visual protest. Neither form of protest ever threatened to get out of hand.

Federated Farmers (Wairarapa Region) President Jim Weston and Dr Hugh Barr, the Secretary of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Association Of New Zealand, had slightly different ideas regarding the land access proposals.

Minister of Agriculture Jim Sutton found time to enjoy a smile whilst getting a spot of heckling from the orange clad rural protestors.

Click for big version
A view of the protest organised by Federated Farmers from Parliament House.


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