Farmers protesting Nats an unusual site in Gisborne
The unusual sight of farmers protesting against a National government greeted Prime Minister John Key when he stepped off his plane in Gisborne yesterday.About a dozen farmers bearing placards protesting the emissions trading scheme (ETS) waited patiently
The unusual sight of farmers protesting against a National government greeted Prime Minister John Key when he stepped off his plane in Gisborne yesterday.
About a dozen farmers bearing placards protesting the emissions trading scheme (ETS) waited patiently outside the airport, hoping for a moment with Mr Key.
But he was whisked off to the first of numerous Maori businesses and iwi organisations in a visit led by Maori Party co-leader and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, and farmers were left miffed.
Farmers are calling on the Government to do a U-turn on the ETS, or at least stall it until Australia joins the scheme -- saying it will disadvantage New Zealand producers against their competitors.
They say the scheme will shift production away from food to trees, with no real benefits for the environment.
Mr Key's two-day visit involved looking at a variety of Maori initiatives and he was treated to a dinner at Whangara's Whitireia Marae last night.
At an RSA breakfast this morning Dr Sharples announced his first response on his Maori Economic Taskforce, which came out of the jobs summit held in January last year.
Among the taskforce's initiatives was setting up non-commercial Mara Kai -- community gardens -- on marae and in Maori communities.
The taskforce was given $500,000 in funding for Mara Kai last year, which resulted in 214 contracts issued for projects around the country.
Dr Sharples announced another $500,000 would be allocated for the coming year.
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