Tonight Greenpeace activists have brought their pipeline protest in Canterbury to a successful end.

Environmental activists have been occupying the construction site of the Central Plains Water Irrigation scheme since the early hours of the morning.

Activists have been locked and chained to machinery, in trenches and inside pipes on the Canterbury plains near Hororata in freezing cold conditions.

Construction work has been unable to proceed and police prevented further access to the site.

Activists left mid evening as temperatures dropped to near zero.

Toop says Greenpeace has done what it intended today. Bringing construction to a halt today and drawing nationwide attention to the link between big irrigation schemes and contaminated rivers from intensive dairying.

“This is just the start here in Canterbury,” says Toop. “We’re putting big irrigation on notice. We will be back, real soon and next time we’re inviting the public to join in.”

As a result of today’s action hundreds of people have signed up for the next protest.

Central Plains Water is one of many proposed schemes across New Zealand underwritten by the Government’s 480 million dollar Irrigation Fund.

One of the other schemes was the Ruataniwha Irrigation Dam, which was halted last month after widespread local opposition. Now Greenpeace is turning its attention to Canterbury where several schemes are planned which will push up the dairy herd says Greenpeace.

Greenpeace is calling for an end to this think-big disaster.

Big irrigation is pushing more intensive dairying threatening our rivers and our drinking water,” says Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop.

“Central Plains Water is ground zero for this irresponsible and short-sighted policy”

 More details will be released in coming days and weeks.