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by Greta Yeoman

Twelve Greenpeace activists are expected to appear in court tomorrow after being arrested at a protest on Monday over a dairy farm expansion.

The protesters chained themselves to diggers and other machinery at Simons Pass in the Mackenzie district, disrupting construction on an irrigation pipeline for the new “mega” dairy farm for nine hours.

A police spokesman said nine women and three men would appear in Timaru District Court tomorrow morning on charges of trespass and unlawful interference.

Police arrested 12 of the 45 environmental activists after they locked themselves on to the machinery at the Mackenzie site. Others unveiled a giant banner beside Lake Pukaki which read “Stop Dairy Expansion”.

Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop said they were opposing the dairy farm expansion in the Mackenzie because of the impact it would have on the district’s environment, which was a habitat for the native black stilt, the world’s rarest wading bird. There are only 100 black stilts left.

“Our message is clear: for the sake of the Mackenzie and our rivers, industrial dairy expansion has to stop.”