Former protestor Graeme O’Brien with his daughter Skye after ending his day-long protest. Photo: Sinead Ogilvie.

Protest over in just a day


What took Lewis Stanton almost 19 months and two stints in jail, took protestor Graeme O’Brien just one day.

Graeme took to Lewis’ protesting spot outside Farmers on Trafalgar St to voice his frustration at Nelson City Council.

He said last week that he would be prepared to stay all summer, “if Hone [Lewis] can do it through winter, I can do it through summer”.

But in fact Graeme arrived home that night  to find an email had arrived early into his one day protest, informing him that Nelson City Council were seeking  independent legal advice over a $600 a year solar savings scheme that Graeme contests.

He says he was not aware of the panel and the associated costs when he bought the house, on Waimea Road.

While his time on the soap box was short-lived, Graeme said it was a great experience and he received a great response from passing public on the day and comments stemming from his appearance in the Nelson Weekly last week.

“A lot of people saw the paper, I’ve had a lot of comments, and people were coming up to me and saying, do you want to hear my story? On the day everyone was trading off these stories, from parking fines , to rates.”

Lewis Stanton recently won his battle with NCC after protesting for 19 months on Trafalgar St, over issues with camping on council-owned land with his horse.

Graeme says the idea to protest came about after feeling like he wasn’t given a fair chance by NCC and waiting for a response to his complaints that he felt was never going to come, and he is pleased with their decision to look into his concerns.

“All I wanted was them to just give me a fair go, not to just give me an arbitrary decision, telling me no.”

Graeme was impressed with the way his protest on ‘speakers corner’ was received, and he was happy that others had approached him and shared their stories.