Southland farmers' 'town and county hui' over freshwater rules 'not going to have a protest feel about it'

Federated Farmers says a 'town and country hui' taking place in Invercargill on Friday "really isn't" a protest.

Bernadette Hunt, vice president of Southland Federated Farmers, says the event is a chance "to bring town and country together" and to discuss the impact the Government's recently introduced freshwater legislation will have on the broader Southland region.

The hui comes after more than 100 tractors took to the streets in Gore on Thursday to protest the legislation, a demonstration that followed calls by Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young in August to boycott the new rules.

That boycott was met with a stark warning by Environment Minister David Parker, who told farmers "no one is above the law". However, it appears the farmers' message did get through to the Government at least in part, with Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor later that month announcing a number of changes to the rules had been made.

On Friday, Hunt said farmers would be arriving around on tractors for the hui, which kicks off at midday at Queen's Park in Invercargill.

And while the gathering was centred around farmers' concerns over the legislation, Hunt said it was also a chance for locals to enjoy a family-friendly social event.

"For townies, this is about coming out and showing some support for farmers and learning about what it is that all the concern is about and for farmers it's about getting out there and sharing this with townies, uniting the province and also getting out and connecting with other people - because we've all been stuck at home, stuck on our farms and there just hasn't been enough social connection going on," Hunt told Dominic George on Magic Talk's Rural Today.

She said it "really isn't" a protest. 

"We really want people to leave feeling positive, uplifted and upbeat. Often at a protest event, people get a bit angry and feel a bit negative and we're trying to achieve the absolute opposite and it really is going to be a family event. 

"It's definitely not going to have a protest feel about it."