Two more Bay of Plenty centres have joined tomorrow's national protest over government interference in the rural sector, which was sparked by planned levies on high-emission vehicles.
The Howl of a Protest has been organised through Groundswell NZ, which describes itself as a group focused on standing up for farmers, food producers, contractors, tradies and councils.
Protestors have been encouraged to take their trucks, utes, tractors and dogs, then parade through the town centre before sounding their horns and having their dogs howl at 12.30pm.
Earlier this week, the national rally was going to be held at 40 towns including Katikati and Taupō. This has since grown to at least 53 locations, including Rotorua and Whakatāne.
In Rotorua, organiser Karen Barker said at least 30 tractors were expected to descend on the CBD.
Barker said farmers and growers were fed up with government interference in the rural sector. Many of the regulations imposed on them in recent years were impractical and prohibitively expensive, creating immense mental strain, she said.
"We're constantly being told what we can and can't do. Everyone I know has had a gutsful, and we can't stay silent anymore. We hope the townspeople will support us, because the entire food-basket of New Zealand is at stake."
Last month, the Government announced a scheme in which people buying electric vehicles could get as much as $8625 back from the Government through levies on high-emission vehicles from January 1.
The levies on petrol and diesel vehicles are expected to go up to $5175 for a new import or $2875 for a used import.
However, there are no suitable alternatives to replace high-emission vehicles such as utes and trucks used in the rural sector.
Barker, who owns a dairy farm with husband Ross, said their compliance costs were increasingly "horrific". She had received phone calls from "desperate" food producers and others in related industries keen to take part, she said.
"They've had enough."
Taupō organiser Les Hamilton said it was getting "harder and harder" to live and work in the rural sector due to the increasing rules and regulations.
Hamilton said it was "ridiculous" and people were losing their patience with the Government. The response to Taupō's rally had already been huge, he said.
Whakatāne organiser Kasey Boreham said she grew up on her grandparents' farm in the area and she was heading the local rally "as a way of standing up for the friends, family and others I know who are going to be affected by this tax".
Barker's and Hamilton's comments echo those of Katikati organiser Christina Humphreys, who said earlier this week many people in the rural sector found the proposed diesel tax "the tipping point" and they felt they were being penalised by the Government.
The protest has the support of Federated Farmers, which said the "tax" was "unworkable"
Bay of Plenty based Labour List MP Angie Warren-Clark said earlier this week it was understandable some of the rural sector felt aggrieved.
"They might be feeling targeted but actually, this is a target for everyone in the country. All of us need to make a shift where possible. It's really not about targeting a group of people."
The fees affected only new purchases — not existing fleets or second-hand buys — which for many businesses could be written off for tax purposes anyway, she said.