'Under siege': Farmers call for more time to process Zero Carbon Bill proposal

Farmers say a wave of new climate change policies has left them feeling "under siege" from the Government. 

Fresh from a morning's work, the Northland community of Ruawai united on Saturday to ask for better from the Government. 

"People don't think we care about our environment but we really do. and it really frustrates us that people think this is all our fault," local beef and dairy farmer Grant McCallum explained. 

Several hundred farmers were there to express their opposition to a series of changes they believe could lead to the undermining of the farm economy. 

The public was given eight weeks to submit its thoughts on the new Zero Carbon Bill but the protest organiser says that's not long enough. 

"I don't think that's genuine. I think we really need to have a six-month extension on this so we can find out how the working parts of this are going to affect all of New Zealand," protest organiser Mark Cameron told Newshub. 

And in the middle of calving season, there aren't enough hours in the day.

"This has fallen at the worst time of year for 99 percent of cockies, farmers, growers," Cameron said. 

"This is major, major legislation that's going to affect all of NZ  massively, they should have an extended consultation period and more free-flowing of information so farmers know where they stand." 

Environment Minister David Parker says he is hearing their calls. 

"The vast number of farmers doing incredibly well and farming profitably with a very low environmental impact. We need that best practice to be adopted everywhere," Parker said. 

But the local mayor got a different impression when he met the Minister.

"He said to me 'the farmers will pay' and he turned on his heels and he walked off. I have zero time for him." 

The farmers have a chance to speak to the Government at a public meeting next week.