Tuesday, 15 June 2021 11:55

Rural ginger groups to meet

Written by  David Anderson
Jane Smith will chair a meeting of rural advocacy groups. Jane Smith will chair a meeting of rural advocacy groups.

A 'national forum' of rural industry advocates is set to be held later this month.

Rural News understands the meeting will be chaired by North Otago farmer and rural advocate, Jane Smith. The gathering will involve groups such as 50 Shades of Green, Groundswell, Rural Advocacy Network, Farmers for Positive Change and the High Country Accord amongst others and also include farmer wellbeing experts.

It is believed the catalyst for the forum is that these groups - formed by farmers and growers dissatisfied by impending regulation outcomes and disappointed by the lack of pushback to such reforms from official farming bodies such as Beef + Lamb NZ and DairyNZ - are looking for 'unity' in the farming voice.

When contacted by Rural News, Smith declined to comment on the details surrounding the possibility of hosting such a forum.

"This is not because of any secrecy," she says. "But out of respect for the tireless work that these groups are doing out of their own pocket."

Smith says the fact that a meeting of 'like minds' isn't about empowering or forming another group.

"It's about getting a collective understanding of the areas that each group and individual is working within," she told Rural News. "These groups are a powerful voice and should not be viewed by funded advocacy organisations as a threat - but as an asset to the industry."

It begs the question that if the current rural advocacy structure is fit-for-purpose, would there be any need for these groups?

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