Ar­rest at Na­tional Party con­ven­tion


A man was ar­rested for tres­pass­ing fol­low­ing a scuf­fle be­tween wel­fare ac­tivists and po­lice out­side a Na­tional Party con­fer­ence in Auck­land at the week­end.

About 50 Auck­land Ac­tion Against Poverty (AAAP) rep­re­sen­ta­tives protested out­side the Na­tional Party’s north­ern re­gional con­ven­tion, at the Waipuna Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Mt Welling­ton, on Sun­day.

They de­manded a liv­ing wage and uni­ver­sal ac­cess to state hous­ing.

One of the pro­test­ers was ar­rested af­ter run­ning past po­lice and try­ing to en­ter the con­fer­ence cen­tre.

More than 30 po­lice of­fi­cers se­cured the perime­ter of the con­fer­ence cen­tre, try­ing to keep the pro­test­ers at bay.

At one point, sev­eral pro­test­ers tried to en­ter the con­fer­ence cen­tre’s park­ing lot forc­ing the po­lice to set up a hu­man bar­ri­cade, re­sult­ing in a scuf­fle.

When they couldn’t get through, the pro­test­ers sat down and con­tin­ued their chants of protest.

AAAP ad­vo­cacy co­or­di­na­tor Alas­tair Rus­sell said mem­bers only wanted to have their voices heard.

He called on the govern­ment to ad­dress the needs of those at the bot- tom of the so­cial scale.

‘‘This is an elec­tion year and sadly none of these po­lit­i­cal par­ties are ad­dress­ing these fun­da­men­tal is­sues.’’

Group spokes­woman Vanessa Cole said the protest was timed for Mother’s Day to ac­knowl­edge sole moth­ers who face ‘‘eco­nomic pun­ish­ment’’ from Work and In­come.

‘‘Work and In­come take $22 to $28 per child, per week from sole moth­ers who do not name the fa­ther on the birth cer­tifi­cate.

‘‘They are also sanc­tioned for not en­ter­ing the paid work­force.

‘‘Sanc­tions take money from fam­i­lies who are al­ready fac­ing hard­ship.

‘‘It can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing food for school lunches and send­ing chil­dren to school hun­gry.’’

Cole said un­em­ployed peo­ple and low-waged work­ers were fac­ing a cri­sis.

‘‘In­stead of solv­ing this, po­lit­i­cal par­ties are speak­ing of so­cial in­vest­ment, fis­cal man­age­ment and re­duc­ing state debt.’’

The Na­tional Party con­ven­tion ran un­til Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Steven Joyce and Prime Min­is­ter Bill English were among those de­liv­er­ing ad­dresses at the con­fer­ence.

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