There is an increasingly vocal sub-set of farmers around the country who are buying into conspiracy theories. A group called the Agricultural Action Group (opens new window) - AAG - have been touring the country in recent months warning people about what they consider to be the real issues facing not just farmers but all citizens of our country:
Agenda 21, the Great Reset, Communism. It’s sad to hear this kind of nonsense coming out of the mouths of a farmer. However, from what I can tell, this "group" consists of just three people - . Their website also looks suspiciously similar to that of online conspiracy show CounterSpin (opens new window).
The president of Otago Federated Farmers sat in on one of AAG’s meetings recently, in Balclutha, and has told the Otago Daily Times (opens new window) that the meeting was "unsettling and unhelpful". He said that advice was given to farmers that they should "deregister" from paying tax. Of course, this is not a real thing - it’s just a silly idea that conspiracy theorists believe in. Nobody’s ever actually been able to avoid taxes this way. And what was the advice given to farmers when the police visited them? To "peacefully" resist. This is not going to end well for any farmers who follow AAG’s advice.
Heather Meri Pennycook, one of AAG’s co-founders, was recently a political candidate for the conspiracy minded Advance NZ party. She said at the meeting that attendees needed to "do their own research". And, of course, when she says research she doesn’t mean actual, proper, scientific research. She means that they should watch some YouTube videos from someone without any real expertise beyond knowing how to record themselves and post the video to YouTube.
Another group of farmers organised a nationwide protest on Friday - Groundswell NZ. Although it appears that the organisers attempted to steer clear of conspiracy and controversy, what made the news last week were the signs attached to farmers’ utes - a mix of sensible complaints, silly ideas about Jacinda Ardern being a communist, and racist nonsense.
- Jacinda, Kiwi’s do not want Communism
- No to comy bitch
- Stop ramming Maori language down our throat
Online I’ve seen videos from several conspiracy spreading personalities who were hob-nobbing with the farmers, interviewing them and chatting with them - Adam Nuttall, Carl Bromley, Kyle Chapman. And in these interviews farmers share their weird conspiracy views - 5G, lockdowns, UN’s Agenda 21 and more.