Decision 17: Angry farmers to rally in Morrinsville

  • 18/09/2017
Irrigation farming
Labour plans to charge commercial users between one and two cents per 1000 litres of water. Photo credit: Getty

Farmer-targeted taxes will be at the centre of a protest in Morrinsville, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's hometown.

Hundreds are expected to gather at midday, to rally against Labour and Greens' proposed water and pollution charges.

Te Aroha farmer Andrew McGiven says the community is not taking the threats lightly.

"If any political party wants to start hitting the farming sector with a number of punitive taxes, and start picking on us with water taxes and nitrate taxes, it's a little bit on the nose."

Labour plans to charge commercial users between one and two cents per 1000 litres of water.

National has claimed it'll cost farmers between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, but figures from Auckland University's Public Policy Institute suggest it'll be more like $13,800, and only for farms that irrigate - five in six dairy farms don't.

National has also claimed the charge would make an average bottle of wine cost $75, whilst Labour has said the added cost would be more like one cent.

The Greens want a nitrate tax, with the proceeds being pumped back into the farming sector to promote sustainable practices.

Mr McGiven says farmers from as far as Canterbury have expressed interest in coming, and he's hoping for around 1000 all-up.

He says most of the community will struggle to keep reducing their environmental harm if they're penalised.

"We're riparian fencing, we're riparian plantingc we're putting in sediment traps, retiring land," he told Newshub.

"I just think it's a question of ignorance. I just don't know if they understand what we do and why we do it.

"We'd like to try and extend our hand and reengage with them and show them what we do. Most of us are looking at the environmental and the social aspects around what we do on the farm as well."

The rally will begin at midday.