Spies exposed in local activist groups in New Zealand

27 May 2007
The Christchurch Save Happy Valley (SHV) group, the Wellington Animal Rights Network (WARN) and Peace Action Wellington (PAW) have exposed corporate spies operating within their groups. In Christchurch, Ryan [photo] had been involved in the group for 7 months, while in Wellington Somali [photo] had been spying for around 2 years.

The pair were employed by Thompson & Clark Private Investigations Limited, an Auckland firm that specialises in "covert physical and electronic surveillance" and "political activism". In Ryan's case, the money came from Solid Energy, while in Somali's, it was likely to be the NZ Biotech Industry for WARN and the NZ Defence Industry Association for PAW.

Frances Mountier, spokesperson for SHV Christchurch, said "It is shocking that a state owned enterprise would use such insidious and underhand tactics to undermine the public debate on climate change".

"Thompson & Clark are a leech-like company, feeding off political groups while making sure not to kill their main source of income" stated WARN spokesperson Mark Eden. "Companies that abuse animals like to keep their practices their dirty little secret, and it seems they will sink to any low to keep it that way."

Peace Action Wellington has expressed solidarity with the other groups. "This corporate infiltration and spying combined with the spying and violence of the police is part and parcel of speaking out in this so called "democratic" State. We wish to extend our solidarity towards those other groups infiltrated seeking to do the same".

The Save Happy Valley Coalition has previously exposed Thompson & Clark on two occassions - in February 2006, people at the Happy Valley occupation came accross two T&C spies on a ridgeline overlooking the campsite, while in September 2006 a camera with a powerful zoom lens was discovered at the start of the track into the Valley.

Media Releases: Peace Action Wellington | Save Happy Valley Coalition | Wellington Animal Rights Network | Alliance

Other Media: Sunday Star Times