News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Logging Protestors Legally Guilty, Morally Correct

Helicopter Logging Protestors: 'Legally Guilty But Morally Correct'

Peter Williams QC represented two Native Forest Action activists Bridget Gibb and Steve Abel in the Auckland District Court today. The pair were arrested in February 1999 after being removed for locking themselves to a log-lifting helicopter on the South Island’s West Coast to prevent Timberlands West Coast Ltd lifting ancient rimu logs out of native forests.

The pair pleaded guilty for their separate charges of ‘unlawful interference with a helicopter’ (Ms Gibb) and ‘illegally getting upon an aircraft’ (Mr Abel). They described their actions as being legally guilty but morally correct.

Judge Kerr felt obliged to convict each activist because the line of the law had been crossed. At the same time he stated, "You can wear your conviction like a badge of courage," as he dismissed the $6,000 reparations sought by Heliharvest.

Lawyer Peter Williams QC defended the pair by pointing out that the present Government policy is an endorsement of their actions. He said that there was no moral turpitude in their action – that it was an action in the interests of the greater good.

“This judgement sets a great precedent for future actions where concerned members of the public feel the only way to defend our environment is to take such severe action,” said Bridget Gibb.

“Our use of non-violent direct action has been vindicated,” pointed out Steve Abel.

The pair, with no previous convictions, faced a maximum sentence of two years in jail and various reparation charges claimed by the Government logging company.

This follows two other protest trials against Timberlands’ protesters last year where Native Forest Action activists were discharged without conviction, with Judge Ryan speaking of a ‘noble tradition of protest in NZ’.

For more information contact: Steve Abel in Auckland on 09-846-7077 or 025-425-051. or Dean Baigent-Mercer on 04-383-5168.

NB. A digital image of the original action (Steve Abel locked to the helicopter rotor) is available on the Native Forest Action website –

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Off The Hidden Path - Five Los Angeles Treasures (Part I)

The immense cultural diversity of LA provides an extraordinary variety of lifestyles and arhcitecture. Here are five 'hidden' destinations where the discerning traveller can appreciate and enjoy this unique and constantly evolving metropolis. More>>

City Of 100 Lovers: Multi-Million Dollar NZ Theatre Production To Launch

Produced in New Zealand with an $8 million budget, this musical comedy has been created with both locals and tourists in mind. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Outsider Art of Tony Fomison

Among such gifted contemporaries as Bill Hammond, Tony de la Tour, and printmaker Jason Grieg, Fomison distinguished himself as highly idiosyncratic, and could have become wealthy, had not his demons prevented him from investing his income wisely. In his near monochrome oil painting on black hessian, he staked out a territory of morbid originality. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Immortal Love

The series has a wild-west tone with a steampunk vibe, so if you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s Firefly or Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea, then chances are you’ll enjoy this book. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Trappings of Success - McQueen

This troubling documentary about the extraordinary life and untimely death of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen is a cautionary tale of an extremely gifted, but self-destructive soul caught up in a business that chews up and spits out its creative talent. More>>

Indycars: Dixon Wins Fifth US Championship

The New Zealand motor racing driver Scott Dixon has won the US Indycar championship for the fifth time, finishing second in the final race of the season in Sonoma, California. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland