Hundreds of Northlanders, many of them in the Far North, are expected to protest on tractors, utes and more at midday tomorrow as part of a simultaneous 'Howl of Protest' in more than 40 centres across the country.
Farmers, tradies, rural businesses and others will take to the streets of Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Whangārei and Dargaville against what they say are an increasing number of government policies interfering with their lives.
Kerikeri protest co-ordinator Kate Lowe, who has encouraged all land owners to join the protest, said rural people were sick of the increasing number of government policies that were making life more difficult. They included Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) on private land, national policy statements on freshwater and biodiversity management, the Three Waters reforms and the "ute tax," designed to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.
Whangārei organiser Tracey Thomassen, who said she had had enough of the ever-increasing number of changes, was expecting about 200 tractors and utes to travel several kilometres through the city from Maunu at noon.
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Kaitaia's protest, which will assemble at the A&P showgrounds for an 11.45am start, is expected to include some on horseback.
Lowe noted that one of the biggest protest marches ever seen in Northland, last month's hikoi in opposition to SNAs, had seen more than 2000 people from all corners of Northland converge on the Far North District Council's headquarters in Kaikohe.
Friday's cavalcade in Kerikeri would start at the town's sports complex, travelling into the town via the Heritage Bypass. Those who could do so were invited to load a dog or two on to their vehicles.
At last report 44 protests were scheduled to take place at noon, from Kaitaia to Invercargill. An interactive map showing where they will take place has been posted to the Groundswell NZ website (groundswellnz.co.nz/events/).
Each protest will include the reading of a Groundswell NZ statement 12.15pm, with the 'Howl,' or 'Bark-up,' at 12.30.
Groundswell NZ is urging those who protest to support their local businesses by having lunch in town, and to "Unite, support and de-stress together with your mates and dogs (you can trust them to be working for you).
"If you live in town and want to show your support, you are welcome to join in too. Round up 10 of your neighbours and form a convoy, or a street march if you're in town. New Zealand is a great place to live, and it is worth fighting for."