Use of private investigators 'unnerving'

Oil Free Otago spokesman Jack Brazil, dressed as though part of a ‘‘Where’s Wally?’’ scene, is...
Oil Free Otago spokesman Jack Brazil, dressed as though part of a ‘‘Where’s Wally?’’ scene, is challenging OMV to find him. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
International oil giant OMV’s use of private investigators to pursue climate activists in Dunedin is "quite unnerving", one of those being targeted says.

Oil Free Otago spokesman Jack Brazil and spokeswoman Rosemary Penwarden, both of Dunedin, are among five activists subject to "retrospective trespass notices" issued by OMV this week.

Ms Penwarden was served at home on Wednesday night by former police officer-turned-private investigator Sue Young, who now runs the private investigation firm Cargill Consultants Otago.

Mr Brazil remains more elusive, enjoying a well-timed "holiday" while posting a picture of himself dressed as if in a "Where’s Wally?" scene on social media.

However, he told the Otago Daily Times he was concerned another unnamed private investigator had visited his mother’s house on the Otago Peninsula while searching for him on Thursday.

Mr Brazil said the investigator — described as a "tall slim man with short white-grey hair" — was spotted by his mother and sister striding on to the property and heading towards the back of the section.

When challenged by his mother and sister, the man refused to identify himself, Mr Brazil said.

"He just kept saying ‘I’m looking for Jack’.

"He was just really arrogant ... It was just quite unnerving."

Mr Brazil, who was not there at the time, believed the man might have suspected he was inside a caravan parked at the back of the property.

His mother and sister shut the door in the man’s face, and he eventually left without serving a notice, but he remained concerned by the tactics, which left him feeling "quite sick".

Ms Young, contacted by the ODT yesterday, confirmed the man involved worked with her, but declined to elaborate.

"I can’t help what they say. There’s nothing I can say about that."

OMV New Zealand staff were asked yesterday to confirm it was using Cargill Consultants Otago, and whether it shared any of the concerns outlined by Mr Brazil.

Australasia senior vice-president Gabriel Selischi, in a statement, would only say the company "fully respects and operates within the laws of New Zealand".

"I can confirm that we only engage qualified and trained professionals on the basis they also fully respect and work within all legal requirements in any undertakings for OMV."

The company’s priority remained "the safety of all our staff and contractors working on our sites and the repeat illegal actions of these individuals puts the health and safety of our people and the activists themselves at risk".

Mr Brazil said New Zealand was lucky to have the "human rights safety net" it did, to protect against the kind of abuses committed against activists overseas, but the actions of the private investigators were still a concern.

The public controversy over the activities of another firm, Thompson and Clark Investigations Ltd, in targeting activist groups, showed how far that could go here, he said.

"I think it’s pretty despicable."

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The tactics of an abusive police state are being used to subdue legitimate protest. The fact that bully boys can be privately hired to invade people's property to serve trespass notices is ironic indeed. OMV are obviously not fit to operate in a country that cares about the rights of the individual.

Well, if you want to step up to the plate and play with the big boys, don't expect to be petted with bubble wrapped gloves. Oil Free Otago is going about the issue of exploration and drilling all wrong. I've said it time and time again, if you want to make a difference, reduce the wasteful demand and further research better alternative energy sources. And other issue that totally aggrevates, is that you're happy for other countries to produce oil and gas so you can continue living your lifestyles, but you don't want it in your own back yard. You're happy to watch Bolvia's environment get ripped open for Lithium batteries, but you can't face the fact NZ has a responsibilty to it's economy AND it's environment. Dress properly and get real Jack, go and picket a motorsport event, the airport or the cruise ships.

Check 'binary opposites, Buzz.

You can't have your kayak and heat it.

You're a bit stuck on management impression. What's it to you what Jack wears?

Hill, there is no binary opposite. we can indeed have a healthy economy and environment. It's in the way that we have managed our resources and disposed of our waste which is the problem. Global population is the single greatest pressure, one we will have to face. In some way, a better balance needs to be found. Currently, our global economies are intrinsically linked to fossil fuels, every thing we use, every thing buy is in some way linked to fossil fuels. A growing population that wastes these resources will only cause more serious problems. Protesting exploration will not save the planet.
Jacks cause would do well to hire a fashion consultant and a publicity manager.

Ms Young 'can't help' what the spooks are saying. She needs to manage them more closely.

Does this guy think he is funny?, so he wants to protest but doesn't want to face the consequences of that protesting and seems to me that he expects to be let away with this carry on and he is not a very good 'protester'.

It would seem necessary to serve trespass notices on OMV and Cargill Consultants to ensure they respect the rights of protestors and their families.

Added to that, due to the fact the 'protestors' lack the 'respect' in return, to a company acting lawfully, that is operating in dangerous and unpredictable conditions. There are genuine and very real safety concerns. This sort of protesting can endanger not only the lives of protestors, but the lives of family men, men that are very highly trained to work and live in such conditions. Muppets who decide to jump on ships are indeed a danger, so hence the trespass notices. Lets get this in perspective, the 'spooks' as you call them are only serving a trespass notice, they're not kidnapping and waterboarding people. The over reaction here is PC scaremongering and childish. Keep your protesting to the streets. Protestors have no 'rights' to enter the property of others unlawfully. No point risking lives.

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