Wind Industry Belting its ‘Message’ Home: Trustpower’s Thugs Assault 79-Year-Old Pensioner & Disabled Farmer

anti-wind1

Remember all those glowing stories about wind power outfits being welcomed into rural communities with open arms? You know, tales about how farmers are dying to have turbines lined up all over their properties? How locals can’t wait to pick up some of the thousands of permanent, high paying jobs on offer? How developers are viewed with the kind of reverence reserved for Royalty?

No?

We’ve forgotten them too.

The wind industry routinely trots out 4 or 5 year old community surveys (where the respondents don’t and will never live within commuting distance from these things) that purport to show the ‘love’. But, when the question is put fair and square to people that know they’ll end up as wind industry “road-kill”, the results tend to come out a little differently:

1,000 Sign Petition Against Mt Emerald Wind Farm: Survey says 92% Opposed

After years of being lied to, bullied, berated and treated like fools (at best) and “road-kill” (at worst), for most, the ‘gloss’ comprising wind industry PR efforts to ‘win hearts and minds’ has well and truly worn off.

These days, the communities aren’t so gullible; they aren’t so welcoming; and they aren’t willing to take it lying down. Despite having the skills of the best spin doctors in the business at its disposal, it’s “outrage” that’s become the word synonymous with the wind industry, wherever it goes. In short, rural communities have had enough – and they’re fighting back, by fair means and foul:

Angry Wind Farm Victims Pull the Trigger: Turbines Shot-Up in Montana and Victoria

And, the PR outfits that are paid a packet to ‘shape the debate’ – like the Clean Energy Council and the Australian Wind Alliance – and their equivalents around the Globe  – are literally ‘stealing’ from their wind industry clients. Their ‘game’ is well-and-truly lost.

Faced with Greg Hunt’s ultimate 33,000 GWh target under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target – that requires another 2,500 of these things to be carpeted all across Australia’s rural heartland – communities are about to explode.

People in the communities targeted know precisely how operators like Pacific Hydro and Acciona are defrauding the Commonwealth, by turning in falsified noise reports and otherwise:

Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms

Thanks to the efforts of John Madigan and those with him on the Senate Inquiry, Australian rural communities are now armed with the knowledge that wind power outfits and their pet acoustic consultants are ready to lie and fabricate evidence in order to keep rolling in an endless stream of REC subsidy; and, worse, that those we pay handsomely to enforce the rules, actively condone and support that very behaviour.

With that kind of state-sponsored fraud funding the kind of thuggery that’s exposed below, rural communities are not going to sit idly and watch their hard-earned property rights get stolen from under them; rights such as the ability to live in, sleep in and otherwise enjoy their very own homes and properties.

STT hears that dozens of communities have just launched the first wave of a counter-attack, aimed at protecting and preserving their health, wealth and happiness. Here’s a report on one of the first salvos.

Wind farm information day turns ugly in Rye Park
Yass Tribune
Jessica Cole
25 September 2015

Wind farm proponents have accused local wind farm protesters of shameful behavior, including violence, theft and urinating on an employee’s car.

A group of about 60 Rye Park and Yass Valley residents whose land lies next to or near a proposed wind farm, attended the open information day on Tuesday, September 22.

The meeting which was planned as an information session turned violent and police were called after protesters scuffled with security and Trustpower staff at the Rye Park hall.

Although it was scheduled from 1pm until 8pm, Trustpower employees closed the meeting two hours early, after one resident allegedly stole a Trustpower USB stick and made violent threats after being restrained from entering the building.

The Bookham resident, Mr Mark Glover, told the Tribune that the incident occurred when he accused Trustpower of lying to his neighbours.

“I did accuse them of lying because he was saying the community supported the proposal,” Mr Glover said.

“So I asked the room of about nine residents to raise their hands if they supported it, none did and then asked those who opposed it to raise their hands, they all did.

“That is 100 per cent opposition in the room.”

Another Yass Valley resident, Mr Jim Field who is in his late seventies, entered the hall saying he was unable to put up his posters opposing the development because he was stopped by the two security guards outside.

Mr Glover intervened on Mr Field’s behalf and one Trustpower Wind development officer, Michael Head, said he could display the posters outside, not inside the hall.

The two residents went to walk outside to put up the posters and were then refused entry back into the hall.

“That’s when they got physical, four people restrained two residents,” Mr Glover continued.

“I just kept saying that it was a public meeting and they couldn’t stop us from going in. They effectively held us back and I think Jim had three people holding him at one point.

“You can’t go around man handling 80-year-old pensioners, but unfortunately there was no one else there to see what happened except me and Jim.”

Mr Glover denied allegations that he threatened Trustpower’s employees.

Trustpower Wind Generation development manager Rontheo Van Zyl said he was personally threatened with violence and described those involved as an unruly group of protesters.

“It is disappointing almost beyond belief that this sort of thuggish, intimidatory behaviour should be tolerated by the community,” he said.

“We believe that people have every right to protest against wind farms, or anything else for that matter, but not in a way that threatens people, intimidates them or prevents them from finding out more information.”

Although Mr Glover stated that it was only himself and Mr Field that was involved in the incident, Mr Van Zyl said that around 10 protesters had arrived at around 5.30pm and started shouting and harassing Trustpower staff and its team of consultants, who were there to provide information.

Mr Glover said that it was disconcerting that Trustpower had employed the security guards at a public meeting in the first place. However, Mr Van Zyl explained that they were employed because Trustpower’s employees had received threatening phone calls.

“I must emphasise that at no point did any Trustpower staff or its consultants restrain or take any physical action against the protesters, and they remained calm and did their best not to respond to this outrageous behaviour,” he said.

Mr Van Zyl said that Mr Field had grabbed him by the throat, which was the instigator for him to call the police, which Mr Field denied.

“This is the first time we have ever had to call the police or shut down a meeting,” he said.

“It is shameful that this group should seek to prevent that from happening rather than engaging in meaningful discussion. Our main concern is that the USB stick that was taken has residents names and addresses of people seeking more information, now they have these contacts.”

Mr Van Zyl said members of the group had also been seen attempting to urinate on one of Trustpower’s vehicles.

“This sort of disgraceful behaviour is not typical of the broader community and only further serves to illustrate that this is a small, unruly group who prefer thuggish intimidation to open information and debate.”

Although police attended the scene, no one was charged over the incident.
Yass Tribune

One of the community defenders involved in the ‘Rye Park rumble’, Mark Glover, was a former Treasurer of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia. Here’s some of Mark’s take on what really happened.

“I arrived at Rye Park about 5-30 pm. It started with Trustpower’s Michael Head telling me the community supported the proposal. I then carried out the straw poll and it was 9-0 against. I think there were 3 Epuron employees; ‘Baldrick’, the sound man, the guy from NSW Government (Environment and Heritage); Van Zyl, Michael Head, the Blond Kiwi, 2 bouncers, and I think about another 4 Trustpower employees (ie 14 with the developer), against 9 members of the public.

Jim Field then complained about being banned from putting posters up outside and I intervened on his behalf.

We then went outside – I think about 5-45 pm – and were effectively ambushed by 2 Trustpower employees and the 2 bouncers, who attempted to cut us off from the group inside the hall. They were attempting to intimidate us; and used physical violence – so, by law, that constitutes assault.

I was held back by the bearded bouncer; and Jim Field was restrained by the other 3. It was only after both of us yelled at them that they let us go. I was accused of stealing the flash drive, which I denied and actually did not steal; and demanded that they call the police. I reported the assault to the Yass police this morning. I did call Boorowa police on Wednesday morning and was told I had to go to a police station in person. I am in the middle of crutching; so 7 am this morning, was the first time I could get to town.

What needs to be emphasized here is that Trustpower and Epuron employees took to assaulting disabled and elderly residents. For the record I had knee surgery just 6 days earlier.

As to the Tribune article, no one urinated on any cars.

STT hears that the ‘urination’ story was a beat up by Trustpower. What really occurred was that one local lad – in a display of his, quite understandable, attitude to the wind industry – engaged in a little theatre, by pretending to unzip his fly and pass water inside one of Trustpower’s vehicles. A subtle difference between the real thing, but subtlety is rarely grasped by the Neanderthals that people the wind industry, hey Ketan?

Rye Park Hall

Scene of Trustpower’s ‘Rye Park rumble’.

****

The Rye Park hall, built in 1923, like thousands of others across rural Australia was built as a Memorial Hall – a memorial to those that served, fell or returned from the Great War:

The Wind Industry Knows No Shame: Turbines to Desecrate the Unknown Graves of Thousands of Australian Soldiers in France

These buildings – their size and grandeur dictated by the size and wealth of the communities from which they emerged – became the focal point for locals, for generations to follow. Used for tea and lamington fuelled meetings of the Country Women’s Association (the backbone of every rural community); meetings of the local Ag Bureau; Saturday night dances; primary school concerts; and sometimes doubling as Council Chambers, Soldiers Memorial Halls were not just built and owned by the community, they became the community.

Honour-Roll-south-wall

A nod to what little places like Rye Park offered up for a better world.

****

Within them, you’ll find Honour Rolls – recording the names of those from within that community who comprised part of the 420,000 Australians who signed up to fight for liberty, freedom and democracy. Close to 70,000 of their number perished in the fields of France, Belgium and the Middle East. Soldiers Memorial Halls – like that at Rye Park – in a way served as places to remember and celebrate those who offered and gave so much to ensure a freer and better world.

What happened at Rye Park would have them all turning in their graves.

The concept of a venerated community leader, like Jim Field being required to obtain “permission” from a foreign owned wind power outfit’s goons to place a poster within that little Hall – let alone needing their “permission” to set foot inside it – is just another example of the type of high-handed arrogance and contempt we’ve all come to expect from the wind industry; and those who people it:

Vesta’s Ken McAlpine Forced to Apoligise to Dr Sarah Laurie for …. well, just being ‘Ken’

When we referred to Jim Field as a “venerated” community leader, we meant it. Jim was awarded the Order of Australia some years back; and was also celebrated by Yass as its Citizen of the Year.

As you read the following piece, bear in mind that Jim – the 79 year-old pensioner that 3 of Trustpower’s thugs set upon with force, in their words, was one of “a small, unruly group who prefer thuggish intimidation to open information and debate” involved in “shameful behavior”. Let’s have a closer look at Jim’s story.

A Field-ful of community service
Yass Tribune
30 January 2013

The Yass Australia Day crowd was left wondering how Senior Citizen of the Year, Jim Field OAM, fit all his volunteer activities into a lifetime.

They include being patron and board member of a number of local groups such as Mount Carmel School Board, the Gwen Warmington Lodge and Horton House Boards.

He has also been involved with the Yass Show, Picnic Races, Yass Car Club and as a junior cricket coach.

Along with 12 years of service as a shire councillor, many volunteer years with the Rural Fire Service, he was an office bearer to a number of volunteer groups.

“This award acknowledges Jim’s hard work and dedication to a wide variety of Yass Valley community organisations,” Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey said.

Perhaps the group he’s dedicated most of his life to is the Lions Club.

Just a year ago Mr Field was awarded and Order of Australia Medal for his work with the Lions Club, which he has been involved in for 32 years.

“During Jim’s… service with the Yass, Murrumbateman and Bowning Lions clubs, he has held a range of positions including three periods of presidency,” the mayor said.

“He has served on 17 district cabinets, including being zone chairman six times, Youth of the Year chairman and a member of the Australian Lions Drug Awareness Foundation.”

Mr Field is currently the chairman of Lions Club NSW and the ACT Save Sight Public Health Care Foundation.
Yass Tribune

Jim Field

Jim Field OAM: more deserving of pats on the back, than
being man-handled & poked in the chest by Trustpower’s thugs.

****

Not much indication of “unruly, shameful, thuggish intimidatory” behaviour there, from Jim.

STT hears that the Yass and Rye Park communities are absolutely furious at the way one of their most respected elders has been set upon by wind industry thugs. We also hear that Jim is out to ensure that criminal charges get laid, also taking his case to local member Pru Goward. Who, we hear, is just as furious as hundreds of other locals, at news of Jim’s treatment. And rightly so.

That news was conveyed to a number of political high-flyers, including Pru Goward in this email from Mark Glover.

Subject: Trust Power Thugs Deployed at Rye Park Wind Farm Public Meeting

It is with great disappointment that I have to report a very disturbing incident that took place today the 22nd September at the Rye Park Hall. Trust Power along with their economic partners Epuron were holding a Public meeting at the Rye Park Hall. I arrived at the meeting to be greeted by two singlet clad, muscle enhanced ‘bouncers”, who were vetting entrants into this “Open Day”. If I were in Russia or North Korea I am sure I would have felt at home, unfortunately Rye Park is actually just north of Yass and politically is supposed to be represented by a democratically elected system of government.

Upon managing successfully to get past the vetting process I met an elderly gentleman, a local resident, Jim Field, who was complaining to Trust Power that their bouncers were not allowing him to display posters outside the hall. When I intervened on his behalf and discussed this matter with a Michael Head he said he had no issue with posters being displayed outside the hall.

Mr Field and myself then left the hall and at that point told not to return. We were physically retrained by the hired help from Trust Power and Epuron. I would like to add at this point that Mr Field is most likely at least 75 years of age and I had an Arthroscopy carried out on my right knee just 6 days ago and am technically not fit for work for another 5 weeks. Trust Power in essence carried out this disgraceful behaviour on the 2 weakest members of the community.

The manner in which Trust Power and Epuron carry out community consultation is an absolute disgrace to our community and is most likely illegal. This must immediately be addressed by the Department of Planning.

Can you please immediately raise this issue with the Minister for Planning as this behaviour cannot be tolerated any further.

Regards
Mark Glover

pru-goward

It’s over to you, Pru.

****

To call Trustpower’s Rye Park rumble a PR disaster is mastery in understatement. STT predicts that news of its corporate sanctioned violence and thuggery will not be confined to the Yass Tribune and STT.

The ramifications have already gone way beyond the NSW Tablelands; and, we hear, it’s already stirred up a hornet’s nest of activity within the Halls of Power in Canberra. An industry already struggling with woeful relations in Australian rural communities, needed news of its operatives beating up on people like Jim Field, like the Catholic Church needs another story about a paedophile priest.

Mark Glover sought to give Trustpower’s Chairman a little helpful ‘Heads-up’ – so to speak – on just where its Stasi-like “community liaison” efforts will end up.

From: Mark Glover
Date: Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 3:33 PM
Subject: Attention of Dr Bruce Harker, Chairman Trust Power
To: enquiries@trustpower.co.nz

Dr Bruce Harker,

It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I and a 79 year old resident of Rye Park were assaulted by some of your employees last Tuesday evening at a community consultation open day. The matter has been reported to the local police.

I was the Treasurer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia for a number of years and a board member of some of their subsidiary companies. As such I am fully aware of the importance of risk management along with the responsibilities of board members.

Reputational risk has become a major risk that needs to be monitored and continually assessed. In the new information age any adverse publicity can quickly impact a companies profit line and lead to downward pressure on equity valuations. Failure to manage reputational risk is not in the shareholders best interest.

I would suggest that as a board you should reassess your risk policy, especially in light of your company’s policy of building wind farms in heavily populated areas where there is solid opposition from residents. The proposed wind farm at Rye Park is within 1 hour of Canberra and a lot of the local residents have excellent political connections, this along with the publicity of assaulting a 79 year old pensioner should be highlighted as a red flag to the board.

I would like to refer you to your companies code of ethics and suggest that both Mr Michael Head and Mr Van Zyl have broken this code and should therefore be liable to disciplinary action.

It is not the usual Australian way to have community consultation open days attended by security personnel. These events are democratic occasions in which a process of open dialogue should be encouraged and not overshadowed by the appearance of thugs on the door.

I trust that as a board you will look to tighten up your overall risk management policies.

Regards
Mark Glover

Micheal Head

Trustpower’s Michael Head: ‘winning’ hearts & minds wherever he goes…

****

What happened at Rye Park is not even the beginning. Australian rural communities are a whole lot smarter and a whole lot tougher than the wind industry and its parasites care to believe.

Setting its thugs on Jim Field at Rye Park makes as much sense for the wind industry as throwing petrol on a raging bush-fire. The wind industry has no hope of recovering from here. It depended upon community support; and it lost that a long, long time ago. For what’s left of the wind industry in Australia, it’s all down hill from here.

angry-mob

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Uncle Fester says:

    So what if they did piss on a car? Small comfort after being crapped on by Epuron and Trust Power.

  2. I can remember a very similar type of scenario back in 2007 in the Smeaton town hall. We had the poor old Hawthorn football club president Andrew Newbold almost in tears, when he tried to hoist turbines all over the area. What a weak little man he was too! Showed him and his pathetic mates who was boss pretty quick smart.

  3. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Martin,

    It went wrong the day our Governments fell for the spiel that IWT’s were the answer to all our woes.

    It went wrong when those in authority, those who are meant to be looking after the people found it easier to look after themselves and support the fear mongering of ideologically challenged demagogues, rather than consider ramifications being expressed about this industry.

    It went wrong when it was decided what the people want and what the people are warning the authorities of stopped counting in the presence of all powerful so called ‘investment’.

  4. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Its interesting that Trustpower say employees had received threatening phone calls – did they report this to the police and ask for their presence at the meeting as a deterrent?
    No, instead they hired ‘security’ guards.
    They then went about manipulating a situation to cause a scuffle and for the ‘security’ guards to man handle elderly men – not young fit ones, then cry wolf saying THEY were threatened, by an ‘unruly group who prefer thuggish intimidation…’.
    It seems the ‘security’ was there to secure a situation where the company could shut up the meeting early, with a story for the media of how poorly those who oppose the project behave and how righteous the company is – well it backfired.
    It backfired because they picked on someone who the community knows and respects.
    Trustpower has now been seen for what it is, WOLVES circling the community, deceiving, threatening, bullying to make themselves look like the new top dogs of the district.
    Is it TrustPower or ConfidentlyDominant they mean the same thing, but not so trust worthy or confident now they have been exposed not only in one small community but across the country and world.

  5. It certainly was not the sort of evening we had hoped for. By the time I arrived after a 4hour drive from Sydney, where I had to be for work, the hall was stripped of posters and information and members of Trustpower were unable to communicate, such was their agitation.
    The Rye Park Action Group is now sending out a petition to Ban the construction of Wind Farms across the Southern Tablelands. We need everyones support to get enough signatures to get it to NSW Parliament. The Link below gives you a chance to sign the petition on change.org or you can email ryeparkactiongroup@gmail.com for a PDF version for your community. Thanks in advance for your support.

    Our goal is to reach 500 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
    https://www.change.org/p/honourable-the-speaker-and-members-of-the-legislative-assembly-of-new-south-wales-stop-the-wind-farms-in-nsw-southern-tablelands-and-south-west-slopes?recruiter=195619856&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

  6. Not the first Time Police have been called. As far back as on Wednesday, March 09-2011, in the Northern Argus, front page, “Police called to eject Wind Farm protesters”.

    Yes we know Michael Head – we sent him letters, telling him that the Turbines he is in charge of, make people ill in the town of Waterloo.

    And as Mary says, quote:

    “Their complaints were universally fobbed off with the mantra – “we are compliant with the guidelines”.

    Same words he used with me and others in Town.

    • Martin Hayles says:

      Let us not forget the infamous Ceres Wind Farm Information day at Curramulka , Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, where the end result was a political disaster for the proponents and subsequently one of the major proponents and local pariah “Custard Guts” John MacFarlane was charged with assault.

      I do believe STT addressed the issue.

  7. Mary Morris says:

    Other Waterloo wind farm “community engagement” techniques included :
    Waterloo wind farm manager repeatedly failing to pick up the phone when several successive phone calls were made from the phone number of a local who had ongoing complaints about noise and sleep disturbance, but upon ringing from a borrowed mobile immediately afterwards (unrecognised number!), the call was answered straight away by the wf employee.

  8. Shocking bully boy tactics. Is this the latest worldwide weasel wheeze – to have thugs on the door of small rural public meetings to intimidate and browbeat?

    We had the same in a small place near Inverness a while back:
    http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-press-and-journal-highlands-islands/20150624/281492159961106/TextView

    This is what we said:

    ‘Own goal right from kick-off, Druim Ba Sustainable Energy!!

    This was advertised as a public exhibition, to show off your ‘wares’; to properly inform.

    What did you expect, coming back cynically for a second shot within a two year period, having been told by the community and the Scottish Government that you and your scheme were not wanted?

    That the same people who thwarted you so successfully would sit at home with their knitting? And that others, who are sickened by the proliferation of windfarms in the area would not join them?

    What did that body of people do, at previous consultations, which could conceivably have warranted four security people? Do tell us!

    This is a democracy, is it not?

    The P & J editorial has it right. It was your call to make, DBSE, and you got it so badly wrong that in our view, you might as well abandon the match. You will not have impressed anyone, especially those people who went to find out more.’

  9. Mary Morris says:

    “What happened at Rye Park is not even the beginning” ……

    No, the beginning with Michael Head and “Community Consultation” started at the notorious Waterloo wind farm in the Mid North of South Australia…

    Rye Park (and Palmer) people need to know that their TRUSTPOWER Michael Head is the same Michael Head who spent several years working at the notorious Waterloo wind farm in SA’s Mid North for Roaring Forties, TRUenergy and ENERGY AUSTRALIA.

    According to LinkedIn, Michael’s roles from July 2010 – August 2013 included OH&S, Environmental Manager and Wind farm Development Manager at the Waterloo wind farm.

    Michael is personally well acquainted with the Waterloo residents who have abandoned their homes, or have had ongoing unresolved audible noise, low frequency noise, building vibration and tv reception problems from the Stage 1 Waterloo turbines.

    Michael also knows how upset the locals are about the erosion, habitat destruction, land degradation and loss of birdlife in the area, particularly wedge tailed eagles and peregrine falcons.
    He was the wind farm employee responsible for dealing FACE TO FACE with the community over their concerns and complaints at Waterloo.
    eg.
    On 17 May 2012 Energy Australia held an information night at Marrabel Hall regarding their proposed Waterloo Stage 2. A petition was presented to Michael (and also emailed) with the names of 345 locals who were opposed to any more turbines in the area because of the effects of Stage 1.
    More than 50 local residents arrived en masse and for 2 hours told Michael Head in no uncertain terms that the existing turbines were too noisy, should be shut down and that no more turbines should be built.
    Their complaints were universally fobbed off with the mantra – “we are compliant with the guidelines”.

    Michael can also be seen in this 2013 Today Tonight report about the proposed SA EPA testing at Waterloo.

    He knows exactly how the majority of the Waterloo and Districts Community and local councils (Clare& Gilbert Valleys Council and Goyder Council ) feel about his Waterloo wind farm.

    https://stopthesethings.com/2013/02/01/now-finally-the-truth-laid-bare/

    • When STT says “rural communities are not going to sit idly and watch their hard-earned property rights get stolen from under them; rights such as the ability to live in, sleep in and otherwise enjoy their very own homes and properties” they need look no further than SA’s Mary Morris for inspiration.
      Outstanding. Thanks Mary, thanks STT.

      • As to appreciation, nay, we say undying ‘gratitude’ for Mary Morris and her relentless quest for justice, we heartily concur.

      • Martin Hayles says:

        Mary Morris,
        A true champion of the downtrodden and dispossessed.

        One does come to wonder how the likes of Van Zyl and Head wrestle with their collective conscience.

        What do they they say when the wife and kids ask how their day was?
        What do they explain as a win when talking amongst their own kind, their collegiate?
        Do they have no understanding of respect, nor an understanding of those who came before, who risked all for our safety and collective wealth?

        I have my opinions, but I rhetorically ask you all, what has gone wrong in our society to create such monsters?

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