I hope today is a very big day for provincial and rural New Zealand. ‘Groundswell’ is what they are calling it.
The protest is up and down the streets of this fine country by tractor and ute.
Basically, it's designed to send a message to Wellington that the rural dweller has had enough, and you can't simply ride rough shod over a significant proportion of the country without some blow back.
The Ute Tax has been the final straw, but it's been over three years coming. The Labour Party, sadly, is not a rural party and it shows.
Damien O'Connor aside, they are made up of people from unions, libraries, and tertiary study. The fact the Prime Minister talked so eloquently of the new electric ute exposed all you needed to see about a person who literally doesn’t have a clue.
A tax on a group of people who have no alternative for transport, I.E there are no EVs to do what they do for a living, is an astonishing insult. And Jacinda Ardern trying to explain how they looked for a carve out means nothing, given they didn’t get one.
They then got further insulted by people like Michael Wood and Julie Anne Genter, who said utes were to be found mainly in cities anyway and are really just ego extensions for blokes.
But overall, it's been a mess around freshwater, fencing, land use, nitrate, He Puapua, Significant Natural Areas, pugging, slopes, paperwork and irrigation.
It's been an avalanche of Wellington telling farming, basically, they're not liked, and they need to do things differently. Consultation has been minimal and things like He Puapua have had no consultation at all. Not now, and certainly not during the election.
The one fault rural New Zealand has made, given their anger, is too many voted for Labour last September. Southland, of all places, went red.
A lot of people have to own up to that. If you voted for Labour and yet hate them, you've got no one to blame but yourself; you have got what you voted for.
And to the Government's credit, some of that weird stuff around pugging, slopes, and rain at different times of the year has been stalled, because even they recognised what a shambles it was.
But overall, rural New Zealand has every right to be aggrieved, especially given the value they bring to all our lives, given what they grow and sell for this country.
Numbers count, I hope the turnout is massive. And, although I am not holding my breath, I hope the government see it, take it on board, and tidy their act up. Rural New Zealand deserves a hell of a lot better.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.
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