Sheep, beef, dairy and horticultural farmers are joining forces on Saturday in a rally demanding a halt to legislation that they say could doom the New Zealand economy.
Ruawai Dairy farmer Mark Cameron is organising the rally and says he is doing it because he wants to have honest dialogue with the Government and the community at large around what are some serious concerns regarding the Zero Carbon Initiative and the Fresh Water Bill before it's passed through as legislation.
"The protest is merely symbolic with the coming together of farmers on their tractors, it's a farmer gathering of all farming types, as a show of solidarity to show our rural concerns for our rural communities."
Cameron says both bills pose serious threats to the economy financially and to the mental wellbeing of all farmers.
"Suffice to say the fiscal effects will be felt rural wide and in the general community at large."
Cameron says that what has been postulated - they are saying it's well within reason that the NZ food bill will go up $30-$40 per week, "that was quoted to me by the mayor of the Kaipara," he said.
Cameron says the local farming community has been very animated about this whole saga, "we are all really, really concerned".
Cameron says he isn't sure if the protest will lead to more occurring up and down the country, "but I kinda hope it does, I'm not an activist I'm just a farmer, if I've got 10 less dollars a week, I'm not going to go spend it in my local community, so the flow on effect is huge".
Cameron says farmers are concerned the Government was trying to expedite the legislation through government, "it's been expedited without honest dialogue, whether there is an agenda or not."
"So, what we want from the Government is to have honest dialogue about the fiscal and emotional ramifications to rural New Zealand and the urban consumers and domestic markets and the greater working parts of New Zealand."
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Cameron believes the ramifications alone to the agriculture and horticultural industry will be the sum total of $400 million annually at recent estimates, "that's outside of the cost of domestic consumption and its prices".
Furthermore Cameron says he is concerned about the legislation's impact on the mental health of farmers.
"I believe the suicide statistics of rural NZ are now reaching epidemic proportions. On average there is a rural or farmer suicide once per fortnight.
"I would say between the media narrative the Government tone, the emotional and physical well-being will suffer terribly as a result of this."
The farming rally is set to take place tomorrow from 11am until 1pm on the southern side of Ruawai on a local farmers property.
For more information contact Mark Cameron on 021 513 328.
Winter Wonderland hits winterless Northland town
The Winterless North is set to be hit by a snowstorm as a pretend winter wonderland comes to town.
The Winter Wonderland free play event is about celebrating tamariki and has seen several organisations join forces and form the Kaipara Tamariki Collective to provide a fun-filled day in Dargaville.
Event spokeswoman Cara Donaldson says there will be a wintry themed castle, with the colours blue, white and silver setting the scene for a truly magical event at the town hall.
"It will be a fun-filled day for families and their tamariki."
The event, includes a free 15-minute movie, bouncy castles for under-5s, a free sausage sizzle, Circus Kumarani, photo castle props, fruit, water and hot chocolate.
Donaldson says it's the first time a winter wonderland themed day for tamariki and their whānau has been held in the region.
"Earlier this year we had play in the park at Sportsville, at the end of the year we will be joining forces with Silver Fern Farms and at the Christmas parade to hold a whānau day at Selwyn park."
"We (The Kaipara Tamariki Collective) all share the same vision creating free play for our tamariki and whānau, we strive to give back to our people."
The event is on this Sunday at the Town Hall in Dargaville from 10.30am until 1pm.
Car park fairy godmother
Visitors to Whangārei Hospital were recently met by the magical "Car Park Fairy Godmother" as they arrived via the carpark.
Jeanette Logie is an administration assistant for the Northland District Health Board and was an entrant in the Dargaville Wearable Arts Awards last weekend.
She decided to bring her entry in to show her colleagues and the carparking wardens who collected more than 3000 car park tickets for her to construct her costume from.
The idea came to her one morning when she arrived at work and wondered if there would be a park for her. Which got her thinking about what she could do with all the used tickets, and she approached the wardens who were happy to help build her supply.
She says she's not usually a sewer, so was impressed with how the dress turned out.
The costume took nine months to design and construct, which she did in her leisure time.
Aside from one piece of material at the top of the skirt and the hoop which she made out of alkathene pipe, the rest of the garment was entirely recycled tickets.
Although she didn't place at the awards, Logie says she enjoyed every moment of the experience, including modelling her garment and recommends others have a go.
The outfit is on display for hospital staff in the cafe. Then Logie plans to spread the fairy godmother magic by visiting local rest homes in the costume. She has already decided what next years' entry will be, but at this stage, it's top-secret – so watch this space.
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