Hundreds of Northland farmers have marched their tractors down the main street of Dargaville in protest of "sweeping" climate change legislation.
Protest organiser and Ruawai based dairy farmer Mark Cameron says the climate change legislation has been pushed through without honest dialogue.
"All this legislation does is throw rural New Zealand under the bus," said Cameron.
One of his main concerns and that of many farmers is how much it will cost them to adhere to the changes.
"You poor buggers as consumers have no idea, as no one has come up with numbers, the cost of compliance, the cost to ratepayers. All of this [legislation] whilst endearing, never speaks to the larger concerns of the community."
Cameron has previously claimed the new legislation will cost farmers dearly with the average New Zealand weekly food bill potentially going up by as much as $100 per week according to figures he had been heard from industry leaders.
However Green Party co-leader James Shaw said this simply wasn't true.
"I've not seen anything that would corroborate those claims."
Instead Shaw said there was plenty of evidence to suggest that farmers could successfully adopt an environmentally friendly approach to farming, although he didn't go as far as to say it would be without costs.
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"We know there are lots of good examples from farming communities across the country that are transitioning to lower carbon ways of working. One of the jobs of this new law is to provide a framework about how we can share these ideas for the benefit of the entire agricultural sector.
"Throughout history New Zealand has led the world on some of the most pressing challenges we face. Solving climate change is no different, and because of what we have achieved together, we will all be able to say in future that we played our part. Farmers will also benefit from the positive reputation New Zealand has globally for taking action on these issues," Shaw said.
Cameron said the Government needs to come up with some actual figures and stop the "pontification".
He also said he wanted to make it clear that farmers protesting are not anti the environment. They are just opposed to the lack of transparency and want more clarification, not just for themselves, but the country as a whole.
"If the Government thinks we are anti the environment, that's a fiction, the fact that people feel we have somehow aligned ourselves against the environment is just nonsense.
"We live in the cleanest country in the world and we are hell-bent on continuing that narrative. My kids swim in the local canals, the rivers and streams, this is farming life, we are as concerned about the environment as anyone.
"This all speaks to a greater truth, but the reality is this Government has turned around and categorically said we [farmers] need to do more, well define more. If the environment minister and Prime Minister sincerely meant that, they would stand up to the greatest polluters in the world.
"The Government has said this is their nuclear moment ... but they are nuking the rural community. There are no real numbers behind what feels good, we want practical solutions not pontification and I can't stress it enough."
The Zero Carbon Bill passed into law last week with no opposition. The bill was open for consultation twice – first by the Ministry for the Environment in July 2018 and, second, by the Environment Select Committee, which closed in July 2019.
Shaw denies claims by the rural sector that the Government has not provided enough consultation.
"The consultation period for the freshwater reforms was extended to October 31 in response to requests."
The protest in Dargaville was done to coincide with farmers marching on Parliament grounds in Wellington.