Greenpeace is going back to the Mackenzie District in its battle against a controversial dairy farm expansion.
This time, however, it is taking a more low key approach with a public meeting on Wednesday at 6pm in Twizel’s Events Centre rather than protesters repeating the July 2 effort of chaining themselves to equipment on site at nearby Simon Pass Station.
A dozen protesters were arrested that day, charged with trespass and unlawful interference as highlighted plans of pastoral leaseholder Murray Valentine to run a dairy business of more than 10,000 cows.
Greenpeace spokesman Phil Vine said they decided to hold the meeting in Twizel because of the response to the protests last month.
“We actually got quite a positive response from many in the Twizel community. They are also concerned about this proposed development and want to know what to do about it.
“Essentially, it’s bad for the environment, bad for people, and only one person really benefits from it.”
Mackenzie District Mayor Graham Smith says he hopes speaking at the meeting will give some understanding as to how the council are protecting the environment in the district.
Smith said he hopes to give some understanding as to how the council has worked its way through Plan Change 13, which declares the basin an Outstanding Natural Landscape.
“I’m speaking about that. I’ll also be mentioning our alignment with Land Information NZ, Department of Conservation, and Environment Canterbury, and Waitaki going forward – how this can benefit.
“I’ll also be speaking a wee bit about the benefit of the landowners, and the care that they take with the land.
“The Simons Pass dairy expansion started in 2007 – getting consents for that. I don’t believe in today’s world, with the necessary district plan rules as such, that it could probably ever happen on that scale anywhere else in the basin.”
Greenpeace Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Gen Toop will also talk at the meeting.
By: Mark Quinlivan and Matthew Littlewood