Anzac Day col­lec­tors kicked out

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - HAN­NAH MARTIN

RSA mem­bers sell­ing poppies in Auck­land have been es­corted from the Otahuhu train sta­tion af­ter they couldn’t present a per­mit.

Otahuhu RSA trea­surer, Les­ley Gup­till, said they headed out to the south Auck­land train sta­tion at 6.30am on Thurs­day, ‘‘as al­ways,’’ but were asked to leave by se­cu­rity just min­utes later.

Gup­till said they al­ways go to the sta­tion on the Thurs­day be­fore Anzac Day, and had never had any prob­lems un­til to­day.

‘‘The se­cu­rity guys said that be­cause we didn’t have a per­mit - which we’ve never ever had to have - we had to leave,’’ she said.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­vi­sor for Auck­land Trans­port, James Ire­land, said AT ’’un­re­servedly apol­o­gise’’ for the in­ci­dent.

‘‘We should have used some dis­cre­tion in this case,’’ Ire­land said.

Se­cu­rity staff had been spo­ken to, and had been ad­vised that in the fu­ture - es­pe­cially for groups like the RSA around ANZAC Day - that they could ap­ply dis­cre­tion, he said.

Ire­land said that when­ever a char­ity wanted to col­lect money at a sta­tion they needed to ap­ply for a per­mit to do it, pri­mar­ily for health and safety rea­sons.

Gup­till said she had not been no­ti­fied of any kind of policy re­quir­ing fundrais­ers to have per­mits, and had never had to in the past.

Richette Rodger has been the Otahuhu town man­ager for five years, and had never known this to hap­pen, she said.

Rodger said col­lec­tors from the lo­cal RSA had been go­ing to the sta­tion for years, play­ing their bag­pipes and col­lect­ing money for poppies, so she was ‘‘so an­gry’’ when she was told what hap­pened.

‘‘They go ev­ery sin­gle year - one group goes down to the train sta­tion early in the morn­ing to get the com­muters. It’s al­ways the same peo­ple. We even use the same ta­ble and chairs,’’ she said.

Money raised from sell­ing poppies went to­ward the wel­fare sec­tion of the Otahuhu RSA, she said, which helped to sup­port its mem­bers.

The wel­fare com­mit­tee took peo­ple to doc­tors’ ap­point­ments, vis­ited them in hospital, took them food and even bought mem­bers gifts at Christ­mas, she said.

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