To say Rachel Stewart isn't backward in coming forward is somewhat of an understatement.

The self-described "ex-media, ex-farmer, ex-train driver" falconer has often ruffled feathers with her forthright opinions - especially when it comes agriculture.

So Stewart's' recent Twitter activity, criticising the Green Party and coming out in support of farmers, caught the attention of The Country's Jamie Mackay, who invited her to talk on today's show.

The Greens are moving away from their environmental roots and becoming too urban, Stewart told Mackay.


"They are incredibly urban-based. They are academics. They are extreme liberals. They're more worried about social justice issues than the environment and that's become particularly apparent over the last term, with the players that are in there".

While Stewart had praise for Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, she said the rest of the party was an example of "the emperor has no clothes".

"To me it's terribly neo-liberal and that's fine - that's who they are - but I don't see them as a voice I can respect on any environmental issues".

Mackay suggested people could also think Stewart was not a fan of farmers after reading some of her opinion pieces, a view she was quick to disagree with.

"Oh never. No. Never. Look [farming's] where I come from. It's who I am".

Stewart said she was "tough" on farmers because she wanted them to do better on "a myriad of issues", especially freshwater.

"I felt that [farmers] were always looking for the main chance in terms of making money. I mean, when you're trying to make money out of farming, which is a very difficult prospect - it's a hard job, I know that - then money becomes the driver".

The perception that she was anti-farming probably came from her disagreeing with the sector as a whole, rather than farmers themselves, said Stewart.


"I've never disliked farmers. I've disliked some of the industry games that I've seen played. I've disliked the pressure on governments and the power of the rural lobby".

"At times I've thought they're shooting themselves in the foot".

Listen below:

Stewart accepted that farmers were more important than ever for economic recovery post-Covid-19, but said she didn't like the "boom and bust mentality of New Zealand".

"I've never liked it with kiwifruit or goats or anything, I've seen it too often and I think dairy has been that too".

Despite this view, Stewart said dairy farmers had had their fair share of tough times and that she felt protective of them.

"Dairy farmers themselves have been put crook by various regional councils, by banks, by fertiliser companies telling them to put too much on. So part of that's being protective of them - because I see the world changing for them very quickly too - and some of them just aren't going to make it".

Ultimately her criticism of farming came from a place of "love, to be honest", said Stewart.

"I always want farmers to do better".

Stewart told Mackay she and her partner would be looking to move back to the countryside at some point.

"We're having trouble up here in Whanganui - suddenly the place is booming, or has been before Covid-19. We have traffic jams now, we have people buying property everywhere, we can't get in to places. There's nothing around, we might have to go further out actually just to get away from the city.

"I'm a country girl, I'll be going back out there for sure."