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.