Thousands of people have turned out in the South Island to protest against unworkable regulations and unjustified costs for farmers.

The Howl of a Protest event, organised by Groundswell New Zealand, has seen thousands of farm vehicles rumbling through cities in protest against what farmers say is increasing interference from the Government, unworkable regulations and unjustified costs.

The protests are taking place in 55 cities and towns, from Kaitaia to Southland.

Christchurch

Those protesting in Canterbury will make their way from the Canterbury Showgrounds to the city centre.

One farmer said he’s tired of burying too many mates who couldn’t handle it anymore.

Canterbury farmer Bob Paton said for too long the community and the country haven’t valued and appreciated what the farmers are doing.

Coordinator for Christchurch Aaron Stark says he is blown by the number of people who have turned up for the protest.

“We had people turning up at 9.30am. I’m blown away with the amount of urban people, the amount of tradies, electricians, you name it.

Stark said he expects about 200 utes will take part and there could be up to 500 tractors.

“We’re doing this because of unworkable regulations, we’ve got to a point now where the whole industry is hurting.”

An NZTA spokesperson said there were delays on the state highway network through both Ashburton and Timaru at about 1pm.

Over 800 protesters are heading to Ashburton Domain from the south side of the town.
Hokonui FM’s Phill Hooper said there is the same amount if not more coming from the north side.

Otago

More than 100 tractors and countless utes have made their way from Mosgiel to Dunedin’s Octagon.

Doug Kamo told the Herald there has been a huge response to the protest.

A briefing was held prior to it starting with the crowd told that it needs to be a peaceful protest.

Kamo said it was very noisy as the vehicles headed out with dogs barking and horns being tooted.

In the Octagon, a Howl of a Protest participant stole the sign of an anti-farming protester.

West Coast

Torrential rain in Greymouth has not stopped protesters from coming out in full force.

Andy Thompson, who is at the protest, said he has never seen so many utes, tractors and trucks in one place in Greymouth.

“There are literally hundreds and hundreds of them snaking through Greymouth. They’re going to have a lot of difficulty gathering in the town square.

“It’s absolutely torrential here but that hasn’t stopped any Coasters and I knew it wouldn’t.

“There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad gear.”

A police spokeswoman said authorities were aware of the plans for protest action today.

“Police recognise and respect the lawful right to protest and our aim is to ensure that both the participants and the community are safe.

“Police will monitor the activities to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

People have been encouraged to bring their tractor, ute and dogs for a bark-up.

Groundswell NZ co-founder Bryce McKenzie, from West Otago, is expecting an “enormous” response to the nationwide event.

The only major city that had left off the itinerary, and that was intentional, was Wellington.

McKenzie was expecting a huge number of tractors in Auckland’s Queen St today.

The logistics were different in the various areas, with some towns requiring traffic management plans, he said.

Bright said a number of vegetable growers would be donating 3 tonnes of vegetables to the City Mission.

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