Protesters who locked themselves inside irrigation pipes, blocking work on the construction of a water scheme in Canterbury, have ended their action.
Greenpeace activists had also been chained to machinery and in trenches at the Central Plains Water project near Hororata since early yesterday.
The presence of the seven protesters halted construction work and led to police shutting down the site.
The group left in the early evening as temperatures dropped to near zero.
Protest organiser Genevieve Toop says Greenpeace achieved its aim of halting construction and drawing attention to the link between large irrigation schemes and river contamination from intensive dairying.
“This is just the start here in Canterbury,” she said.
“We’re putting big irrigation on notice. We’ll be back real soon and next time we’re inviting the public to join in.”
Greenpeace said the action had led to hundreds of people signing up for the next protest in Canterbury at a venue and date to be set.
The Central Plains project has an estimated construction cost of
$385 million and will provide water for 60,000ha on the Canterbury Plains.
Greenpeace said it had been encouraged by the Supreme Court decision in July that halted work on another big scheme, the Ruataniwha dam in Hawke’s Bay.
The environmental organisation said the court decision meant it was now focusing on planned projects in Canterbury. NZN