"Farmers need to get off the fence and stand with us against stupidity."
That is the message from Greenvale sheep and beef farmer Laurie Paterson, whose petition seeking a rewrite of the controversial new freshwater rules closes on Saturday.
The petition was organised by Groundswell NZ, a group which stemmed from a tractor trek in Gore in October expressing farmers' feelings about the new regulations.
It had been signed by more than 1600 people, and Paterson hoped it would reach at least 2000 signatures.
Those who had not signed needed to consider if they wanted to be "bound up in the whole consenting process and spend half their time doing that or stand with us and put up a bit of a fight", Paterson said yesterday.
"Maybe farmers that don't do anything will get what they deserve," he said.
A farmer meeting was planned at the Southern Field Days site at Waimumu, near Gore, on February 11 and speakers would include North Otago farmer Jane Smith.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Laurie Paterson on The Country below:
At that meeting, there would be a discussion on what the options were "from here on in".
Further action was likely if no changes were made.
Making one set of rules for all farmers was "absurd"; it was a "big stick" approach with a whole lot of cost, he said.
While no politicians had been invited to the meeting, they were welcome to attend.
"We're not turning it into a political event. Groundswell is a grass-roots organisation," Paterson said.
Those interested in the "Rewrite the Essential Freshwater rules" can find it here.