From: Andrew Hoggard
Sent: Wednesday, 14 July 2021 2:04 PM
To: D OConnor (MIN) D.OConnor@ministers.govt.nz
Cc: Karen Williams ; Terry Copeland >
Subject: Farmer Protests
Just wanted to let you know around the stance Federated Farmers will be taking on the planned farmer protests on Friday. Whilst these protests haven’t been organised by Feds, in a number of locations they have asked People from Feds to speak at the protests. I myself have been asked to speak and am weighing that up, if I do speak it will be about our concerns not with the direction of travel, but the nature of that travel, our provincial presidents will be asked to stick to similar speaking points, if they are speaking. A number won’t be attending as in some places these protests are being run by some crazy individuals and there are politicians trying to hijack various ones.
However, I do know that locally a hell of a lot of people that I would view as fairly middle of the road, the sort that don’t do protests are going and it is not because they have a sudden aversion to chem trails, 5G or vaccines. Undoubtedly that’s how many will try and portray the protests but trust me that’s not what the majority of people are going to be there for.
Basically, it’s nothing new to you, we have spoken about this with the amount of stuff on the agenda. It really is burning people out; I am concerned about the staff at Feds trying to cope with everything and I see similar levels of stress and frustration amongst many of your own officials. As I mentioned to you on the phone, we now have the Fresh water farm plans, low slope map, RMA reform, and Biodiversity all on the go with consultation occurring. At the same time as we are at the most critical phase of HWEN in my opinion, if we want to get that right then our teams need the breathing space to give it the effort it needs. This is all happening at the busiest time of the farming calendar.
I guess the biggest immediate concern which we again raised at Mystery Creek with the PM is around the labour shortage on farm and keeping those that are here now. But we are seeing a flow of talented staff from overseas, they are getting sick of dealing with immigration and just packing their bags and going to Australia or Canada.
These are probably going to be the largest rural protests we have seen since the 80’s, so as an organisation that speaks for rural New Zealand, I need to give voice to those concerns. But I will be doing in a principled way and sticking to the issues.
Federated Farmers of New Zealand