A founder of the agricultural protest group Groundswell NZ has denied being anti-vax after refusing to participate in a DairyNZ video encouraging farmers to obtain the Covid-19 vaccine.

These are photographs of one of the group’s coordinators meeting with leaders of Destiny Church, who have been implicated in anti-lockdown protests, circulating on social media.

Groundswell NZ founder Bryce McKenzie confirmed Thing he had been approached to appear in a recent DairyNZ video promoting vaccination in rural New Zealand, but declined.

The video features a number of farm executives, including Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard, Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor and DairyNZ Managing Director Tim Mackle.

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McKenzie said Groundswell was “certainly” not anti-vaccination, but decided not to comment publicly on the 60,000 plus farmers who follow the group because it was a political and emotional issue they did not want to do. part.

He said the group wanted to continue focusing on the causes they were trained for, including the national freshwater policy and the search for a stop and rewrite of unenforceable regulations.

A spokesperson for DairyNZ said it had invited “a wide range” of groups and individuals to participate in the video, and a number of them declined for various reasons.

The vaccination video had reached more than 300,000 people and was shown on television, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a photo of Groundswell’s Pukekohe and Auckland coordinator Scott Bright sitting at a table alongside Brian and Hannah Tamaki, and Auckland mayor hopeful Leo Molloy was shared on social media. .

Hannah Tamaki previously said in a Facebook post that she would choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Her husband, Brian Tamaki, also said in a social media post that the long-term effects of the vaccine were “unknown” and claimed the vaccine was “not tested.”

Bright also provided fresh vegetables to the Freedom and Rights Coalition protests, but said Thing he attended the demonstration in his personal capacity.

The Freedom and Rights Coalition, of which Brian Tamaki is one of the founders, opposes the government’s response to Covid-19, including what it sees as “unnecessary” blockades and mandatory vaccination.

Lawrence Smith / Stuff

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki addressed thousands of anti-lockdown protesters during a protest at the Auckland Estate on October 2. He attended a second event on October 16, but maintains he didn’t host either.

Asked about his encounter with the Tamaki, Bright said he did not discriminate against anyone and felt that people should “be much more generous to others these days”.

Bright said he met the Tamaki in a personal capacity and only did so to share his perspective on how farm regulations hamper farmers.

He said he did not share any of the Tamaki views other than the issues of freedom and rights and how those issues affected farmers.

Brian Tamaki was recently charged with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and an Alert Level 3 order, and violating the conditions of release on bail after attending rallies where he protested Auckland’s lockdown.

McKenzie said Bright told them he intended to meet with the Tamakis and made it clear that he was attending as an individual and not as a member of the organization.

“We informed him that under no circumstances was Groundswell to be involved.”

Groundswell NZ’s silence on vaccination contrasted with national pressure group Federated Farmers which proactively urged the rural community to get bitten.

Dairy Industry Group chairman Wayne Langford said the lobbying organization wanted everyone who can get vaccinated to receive the vaccine in order to reopen New Zealand.

A large crowd gathers in Cranmer Square in central Christchurch for the Freedom Day protest rally organized by the Coalition for Freedoms and Rights.

Pierre Meecham

A large crowd gathers in Cranmer Square in central Christchurch for the Freedom Day protest rally organized by the Coalition for Freedoms and Rights.

Groundswell’s national organizer in Canterbury, Jamie McFadyen, reiterated the organization was not anti-vaccination. “We ride with and the same with the lock. “

McFadyen said he spoke to Bright and thought it was clear Bright’s views were not those of Groundswell NZ.

“We have made it clear to the coordinators that we have standards and positions, and that anything done under the Groundswell name must be approved by us. “

McFadyen admitted the group had been approached in support of anti-vaccination protests, but they strongly denied being part of the problem. “We just said no. We are not part of it.

Recently, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis urged farmers to do everything possible to enable and encourage their staff to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“The sooner we get everyone vaccinated twice, the sooner we can safely take action to get back to where we were with travel, events, farmers markets and everything in between. “

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