INDEPENDENT NEWS

Solid Energy Continues Campaign of Intimidation

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2005 10:06 AM
PRESS RELEASE :: PRESS RELEASE :: PRESS RELEASE
22nd November 2005
For Immediate Use
Solid Energy Continues Campaign of Intimidation
A tramping group, comprised of Save Happy Valley campaigners and interested members of the public, were startled when security guards invaded their camp site this weekend. The guards, from the Wellington- based Gibson Security firm and employed by Government mining company Solid Energy, filmed the group against their expressed wishes and demanded personal details for the purposes of issuing 'pre-emptive' trespass notices.
The Save Happy Valley campaigners were taking the group of 33, which included children and overseas visitors, to see the pristine valley. Solid Energy has plans to turn the valley into a controversial open- cast coal mine, which is currently being appealed in the High Court.
The guards burst into the campsite while the group was eating dinner. Kristin Gillies, an aircraft engineer from Christchurch, said, 'I was appalled by the unprovoked harassment we got from these guys, I came in here to enjoy the valley and hear kiwi, not to be intimidated.'
Happy Valley has an unusually high density of great spotted kiwi, and is also home to a rare population of carnivorous endemic land snails.
Intimidation of the group continued when the group encountered a roadblock, police officers, and a paddywagon at the road end. Save Happy Valley spokesperson Frances Mountier said, "No one was arrested: this is just straight intimidation. I'm extremely disappointed at these over-the-top tactics employed by Solid Energy and the local police."
ENDS
More information: see http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz.
PHOTOGRAPHS AVAILABLE
1. http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/assets/seharrassment1hi.jpg
Shows Gibson Security invasively filming at campsite, Saturday 19
November. Taken by Alan Liefting
2. http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/assets/seharrassment3hi.jpg
Shows police roadblock, Sunday 20 November 2005. Taken by Forest and
Bird.

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