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Written by Sam Hudson.
Otago Daily Times, a New Zealand news organisation, has published allegations over an OSPRI office closure in Dunedin.
Staff were ‘concerned for their safety’ following a disagreement over rushed communication with landowner Adrian Black on April 12. The news organisation mentioned that a social media post raised concerns by OSPRI, but it was not cited in their article as sufficient evidence.
The publication allegedly raised concerns that a protest would potentially occur; however, Adrian said to thisquality on April 15 from an audio recording that the meeting was suddenly canned. It was only going to be himself and a lawyer who was going to mediate the conversation throughout the private meeting planned at OSPRI’s Dunedin office on April 16 at 2 pm.
It says ‘OSPRI could not confirm whether a protest took place either’, which means there was no consideration over the fact that a gathering was realistically going to occur. thisquality understands protestors attending on Monday did not have intentions to accompany the private meeting.
Adrian sent an extensive OIA (Official Information Act) request on March 16 to OSPRI, receiving it on April 9. The following Monday, two Contractors visited his property at around 9:40 am to conduct their operations. Nevertheless, it gave no time for a response from Adrian, including consulting it legally within a working day timeframe.
During a phone call with lawyer Sue Grey and the Police at the scene on Monday, an agreement was decided. Both Contractors were later told to leave shortly after the call occurred between all parties.
“I would very much like to bring this episode to an end and not have OSPRI perpetuate the situation or allow it to drag on longer than necessary,” said Adrian.
“I don’t know why they have cancelled. I don’t know if anybody would come along, and I really do not understand the situation.”
Reportedly the phone call was to allow for a meeting to happen between Adrian and the lawyer.
No one else was invited or told to attend.
“What happened was, I was at my property on Monday morning, and the OSPRI people turned up, and Police turned up. The Police were standing between the [Contractors] and us [protestors],” said Adrian.
“One of our people made a phone call and came up to me and said to me can you talk to this person on the phone. They said it was Sue Grey, so I started talking to her, and she asked me what was going on.”
“She said would you like me to mediate, and I said yeah, no problem.”
The phone was passed to one of the Police officers with the lawyer so she could speak to them for around ten minutes to come to an agreement.
It was described that the phone was then handed to one of the two Contractors after Police were told to let them know specific terms of agreement over the rushed consultation.
“What she negotiated was that there would be a standdown, and they would leave the scene on the condition that we, her and me, attend a meeting at the OSPRI offices at 2 pm on Friday,” said Adrian.
“That was the reason why they backed off on Monday because we negotiated an opportunity to discuss the situation with us at their offices.”
The lawyer was sent an email on Thursday saying they would no longer go ahead with the meeting.
Adrian thinks OSPRI should be more transparent and leave him alone.
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