Sun, Nov 21, 2021 5:34 PM

Groundswell protest hits Nelson

Utes trucks and tractors honked their way through Nelson's City Centre on Sunday as part of a series of national farming regulation protests. Photo: Erin Bradnock

Erin Bradnock

Hundreds of farmers, growers and supporters honked through the Top of the South today as part of national Groundswell protests.

Groundswell NZ has hosted nationwide protests this Sunday in an effort to reverse “unworkable regulations” for kiwi farmers and growers.

According to Groundswell NZ's website, these regulations surround "freshwater, indigenous biodiversity, climate change and Crown Pastoral Land Reform bill".

Convoys of cars from across the region travelled from Lower Queen St Richmond, along Whakatu Dr and through the city centre.

Utes, trucks, tractors and town cars honked their way through Nelson, many with New Zealand flags and banners reading "no three waters" and "no farming no food no life".

A convoy of vehicles tooting in support of farmers along Rutherford St. Photo: Erin Bradnock.
A convoy of vehicles tooting in support of farmers along Rutherford St. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Other signage was more strongly directed towards the government including "democracy not dictatorship", "no communism" and "help needed beehive out of control".

There were a handful of supporters standing in the rain along Rutherford St, with signs reading "Jacinda enough is enough" and "no three waters".

One car's banner reading "help needed Beehive out of control" and "no more racial division". Photo: Erin Bradnock
One car's banner reading "help needed Beehive out of control" and "no more racial division". Photo: Erin Bradnock

Local representative for Groundswell NZ Bruce Gordon delivered a ute load of local produce to Salvation Army on Rutherford St as the protest convoy passed.
Another carload of food was donated to Kai Rescue.

"We're gonna give something back since the government isn't bloody interested in helping the poor, the farmers are doing it," says Bruce.

Local Groundswell NZ representative Bruce Gordon un onions, potatoes and fruit donated by local growers for the Salvation Army. Photo: Erin Bradnock.
Local Groundswell NZ representative Bruce Gordon un onions, potatoes and fruit donated by local growers for the Salvation Army. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Bruce, a lifelong farmer from Maruia, just south of Murchison, says local farmers are "so stressed" under recent regulations.

"Farmer's have had heaps of suicides throughout the years, now they're scared to get sick and start dying," he says.

On top of regulation, Bruce says farmers are also worried about the transmission of Covid-19 onto the unvaccinated within rural communities.

"This government and all their regulations, now it's letting Auckland come down and destroy us," he says.

By 2.30 the convoy had left dispersed from the city centre.