2 Jun 2010

Farmers looking into forming rural party

8:11 pm on 2 June 2010

Some North Island farmers are looking into forming a rural political party out of frustration at the Government's moves to implement the emissions trading scheme in July.

The head of Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa branch, Hamish Cave, says he's been in discussions with the Waikato province about starting a party.

He says farmers in the two regions feel their needs are not being represented in Parliament and a political party may be their only option.

The last time a rural party was represented in Parliament was in 1925. The Country Party stayed around for four terms.

It originated from the Auckland Farmers Union, a branch of the New Zealand Farmers Union which covered most of the upper North Island.

Mr Cave says the ETS will place farmers, under a huge amount of financial pressure.

He says farmers will be very angry and frustrated if ETS goes ahead and hopes talk about a move into Parliament might trigger a response in their favour.

However, he admits getting the required number of votes to get into Parliament might be a long shot for a rural party.

It would need 5% or about 100,000 votes to have representation under MMP.

Federation view

Federated Farmers says it won't be involved in any such move.

President Don Nicolson says farmers are very worried about the ETS and feel that MMP has not produced a party that represented farmers' interests.

But he says the federation is apolitical and would not support any rural moves in this area.