PHOTO: SUPPLIED Greenpeace has protested about what it calls a “mega dairy farm”.

The country’s most controversial dairy conversion continues to encounter hurdles to its $100-million-plus project.

Last July, Greenpeace protesters chained themselves to diggers working on the irrigation pipeline to the Mackenzie Basin’s Simons Pass Station,for what it called a “mega dairy farm”. About 4500 hectares of the property, near Lake Pukaki, is to be irrigated, in a conversion that should eventually contain about 5500 cows and 10,000 other stock animals.

While the station’s owner Murray Valentine, a Dunedin businessman, has accumulated dozens of approvals and pre-approvals for the intensive dairy farm, his company is still barneying with the local council about what can and can’t be done without permission.