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Around a hundred people, some in tractors and even a helicopter, showed up in Ruawai to protest the Government’s attack on rural communities today, National’s Rural Communities Spokesperson and Northland MP Matt King says.

“At one of the busiest times of the year for farmers they still turned up in droves to voice their dissatisfaction at this Government’s anti-farming policy.

“New Zealand is the world leader for efficient farming. A litre of New Zealand milk shipped to Ireland, the next most efficient producer, would still have a lower emissions profile than Irish milk produced locally.

“Adding extra costs and regulations will put some Kiwi farmers out of business, and the gap this will leave in the international market will be filled by less-efficient producers.

“Rural communities suffer when farmers struggle, Government incentives to plant trees are making it more financially viable to convert good farm land into forestry. This will devastate rural communities, as farm jobs go and people move away. School rolls will drop and local businesses will struggle.

“The latest concern comes in the form of the cynical consultation process for the Government’s proposed freshwater changes. The analysis of the impact of the proposed changes is conflicting, and farmers have been left confused. With a short six week timeframe (extended to eight under pressure) and not enough public meetings, it feels like the decision has been predetermined.

“It’s very risky to be treating New Zealand’s biggest export sector like this.”

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