Anti-dairying activists who locked themselves to machinery cut free and arrested

Protesters have been at Simon Pass Station since early Monday morning.
Protesters have been at Simon Pass Station since early Monday morning. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Twelve activists who chained themselves to diggers and trucks in a bid to disrupt construction of a large South Island irrigation pipeline have been cut free and arrested. 

Greenpeace protestors have been at the proposed site of a "mega dairy farm" in the Mackenzie District since dawn. 

Greenpeace spokeswoman Gen Toop told Newshub twelve protesters that were locked to the machinery had been cut free and arrested by police on Monday afternoon.

The protest, on the privately owned Simons Pass Station, is said to be a crucial habitat for native kaki - the world's rarest wading bird, which are mainly endemic to the Mackenzie. 

Ms Toop said the reason for the protest was clear.

"For the sake of the Mackenzie and our rivers, industrial dairy expansion has to stop.

"The dairy industry has polluted our rivers and our climate for too long. This latest incursion into the iconic Mackenzie Country shows just how extreme this industry has become."

However, Simons Pass owner Murray Valentine says 40 percent of the 9600 hectare farm is being set up for conservation.

He plans a maximum of 5000 cows for the land and says they are already monitoring Tekapo River and groundwater.

Police had been monitoring the protestors all Monday morning. 

The protestors had been advised they were on the property unlawfully and were exposing themselves to being arrested, Sergeant Mike van der Heyden said.

Work on the pipeline was continuing on other areas of the work site but not directly were the protesters were situated, Sergeant Van der Heyden said.

A petition launched by Greenpeace to ban new dairy conversions across New Zealand has nearly 30,000 signatures.