Police spent about $22,000 roping in 50 officers to protect a mining forum that did not attract a single protester.
Police came from around the South Island to Shantytown outside Greymouth in mid-April for a national mining forum amid fears of violent protests from anti-mining environmentalists, the Greymouth Star reports.
In Dunedin two years ago, more than 100 protesters clashed with police outside the Minerals Forum at the city's Town Hall, blocking dozens of delegates from entering.
But the Greymouth Star says the West Coast event was such a well-kept secret that "not a single protester arrived".
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The Greymouth Star later asked police what the operation cost.
New Zealand national police headquarters in Wellington confirmed that 36 staff were brought in from outside the area, and were joined by 16 local staff, costing $21,840, including $2721 in travel and flights, $8145 in accommodation, and a travelling allowance of $10,973.
In the following days, police say the extra resources were "put to good use" and more than 20 motorists were caught flouting the road rules at a series of routine police checkpoints. Infringement notices included failing to have a driver's licence, not wearing seatbelts, and driving while using a cellphone, police said.