Dargaville locals storm Kaipara Council over new chicken farm

Dargaville locals have stormed their council building and confronted the mayor over a proposal to build a huge chicken farm on the town's outskirts.

Residents are worried about the health and environmental impacts of the Tegel farm, which would be the biggest in the country.

Around 50 protesters took over the office of Kaipara Council on Wednesday,  demanding it put a stop to plans by Tegel to build an enormous chicken farm near the town.

"There will be all these chickens that are in fear on the trucks, they'll be pooing their little hearts out - it's got to smell bad," one protester said.

"They've just passed the buck like everybody else. Money talks, bullshit walks. Rich little men come into town, got the money," another added.

Tegel wants to put 32 poultry sheds on land just south of Dargaville. Each would house more than 40,000 chickens, for a total of around 1.3 million.

Residents say Tegel has already bought six properties to make room for the sheds, and has asked sellers to sign confidentiality agreements.

One of those was Karen Exley's elderly step-mother.

"She wasn't even able to tell us about that," she said.

"That's morally wrong in itself - approaching an elderly lady and making her sign a confidentiality clause."

Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith appeared after protesters demanded he hear their concerns.

Mayor Smith urged the protesters to make submissions before Tuesday, March 6 - stressing to them no decisions had yet been made.

Tegel declined Newshub's interview request, but provided a statment saying it's committed to working with the local community through the consent process.