Mooloos take our Myrtle

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 19/10/2012
Bob Appleton

RIDE ON: Bob Appleton takes Myrtle the tractor for a ride yesterday before putting her on a trailer and taking her home to the Waikato.

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The Waikato claimed another piece of New Zealand's history from Taranaki yesterday when Myrtle the tractor was repossessed.

The Ferguson TEA28 was made famous by National MP Shane Ardern who drove it up the steps of Parliament in a protest against "fart tax" in 2003.

Since then Myrtle had been used by Mr Ardern's wife Cathy in her garden.

Apart from a few other protest jaunts around the North Island, Mr Ardern had been caring for Myrtle ever since, and was apparently reluctant to let her go.

However Myrtle's owner Bob Appleton and his friend Mike Stokes made the trip south to reclaim the tractor after nine years without it.

"We thought we may as well take Myrtle seeing as though we have already taken the Shield," Mr Appleton said.

Although Mr Ardern had offered to buy the old tractor a number of times and even sent Mr Appleton a cheque for $2000 at one stage, Myrtle was successfully taken home yesterday.

It was good to have her back, Mr Appleton said.

"She's saved my life more times than she has saved Shane's," he said.

"I broke my ankle out the back of the farm and she got me home and I've been in the stag paddock and Myrtle saved me from the stags."

Mr Appleton said if he died Mr Ardern could have the old tractor back.

"But I'm not dead yet."

In the meantime, Mr Ardern said he had already acquired a similar tractor that he would do up in time.

The Taranaki-King Country MP said the use of Myrtle in his political activities had been a success.

"Well there's still no "fart tax," he said.

"We had a win back then and we are still holding our ground."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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