A group of protesters have locked themselves inside irrigation pipes pipes in Canterbury in a bid to slow the construction of a water scheme.
Greenpeace says the Central Plains Water project near Hororata takes water from the Rakaia and will be used to expand intensive dairying in the area.
Several of its activists had locked themselves inside pipes and machinery and others were blocking a trench being dug this morning, it said.
“We’re taking a stand today because big new irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water mean more cows, and more cows means more sick rivers,” organiser Genevieve Toop said.
The group said it had been encouraged by a recent Supreme Court decision that halted work on the long-disputed Ruataniwha Dam project, which would have created water for irrigation in the Hawke’s Bay.
The Central Plains project is the largest of several irrigation schemes receiving funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The project has a total construction cost of about $385m and will provide water to about 60,000ha on the Canterbury Plains, according to its website.
“This is an enormous publicly funded irrigation scheme which will increase the dairy herd and pollute Canterbury’s rivers,” Ms Toop said. NZN