Buller residents have come out in force to protest the development of Westport's new health centre.
Eighteen-hundred locals gathered around Buller Hospital this afternoon, linking to form a two-deep human chain around the perimeter.
Locals say the $12 million integrated health facility is too small and not fit for purpose.
The current 35-bed facility will be replaced with a 10-bed centre and replaced by a public-private funding model in which it'll be owned by the Accident Compensation Corporation.
Critics are calling it "The Buller Experiment".
"We think this is an experiment that they're being guinea pigs really for a programme that the National Government intends to roll out on the rest of rural New Zealand, if not the rest of New Zealand," Erin Polaczuk, Public Service Association National secretary told 1 NEWS.
Another protest is planned for next Saturday.