23 Apr 2009

Happy Valley protesters' camp removed

10:12 pm on 23 April 2009

The site of one of the country's longest running environmental occupations has been removed to make room for a mining extension.

The unoccupied campsite set up by the Save Happy Valley Coalition in Buller was cleared on Wednesday by contractors and police.

State-owned Solid Energy plans to start work developing the Cyprus extension of the Stockton Opencast Mine. The company's chief executive Don Elder says the company can now move on with a 30-month development programme.

He says the campsite was cleared for the protest group's own safety, and the area is now closed to all members of the public.

Protest spokesperson, Graham Jury, says the eviction will not affect the group's ongoing resistance. He says the site was on public land and Solid Energy therefore had no right to act against it.