Arrest made after Auckland protest

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 May 2015, 5:24AM

Arrest made after Auckland protest

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 May 2015, 5:24AM

UPDATED 5.08pm: One person has been arrested after more than 40 protesters tried to gain access to Sky City Convention Centre.

Police say they faced sustained and sometimes aggressive attempts to enter the building where Prime Minister gave a post Budget speech.

A number of police staff suffered minor injuries including scratches to the face and arms.

Auckland Action Against Poverty say the $25 more a week for low income families is too little too late.

Inspector Peter Gibson says it was a challenging event to police and they are disappointed with the actions of some protesters.

Police will continue to review video footage of the protest with a view to deciding what further inquiries may be required.


PHOTOS: Protesters and police face off at Sky City

Police and protesters were face to face as abuse was aimed at Prime Minister John Key who was there for a post Budget speech.

Inside Mr Key said they had little to protest about.

"Sometimes they can protest and you might be able to see some rationale behind it.

"But if they're protesting about child poverty when we're the first government to raise benefits in 43 years, you just sort of start saying they're protesting for the sake of it."

Earlier, TV personality Paul Henry was jostled by protesters amid a noisy demonstration outside SkyCity in Auckland.

The Prime Minister was inside delivering his seventh post-budget speech.

Gia Garrick said there was a stand-off, with protestors and police shoulder to shoulder and demonstrators shouting right into their faces.

"Protestors have run at police who are lining the entrances to SkyCity. They're still chanting in to megaphones, but running at the police. It's become quite rowdy down here."

Auckland Action Against Poverty rallied today to show its discontent outside the Prime Minister's post-Budget speech in Auckland today.

The protest is in retaliation to the government's pre-budget promises.

Measures to combat child poverty were one of the centrepiece items of the government's 2015 budget.

An increase in benefits to families with children and a boost to Working for Families entitlements for those on very low incomes have been announced.

But it comes with a stipulation that solo parents and partners of beneficiaries have to be available for part-time work from when their youngest child is three-years-old, rather than five.

The moves have largely been panned by advocacy groups and opposition parties.

Auckland Action Against Poverty says the additional benefit payments will in no way compensate for the costs of transport, clothing and childcare inflicted by work search requirements.

Spokeswoman Sue Bradford said if the government was serious about dealing with poverty, it would lift benefits now to the same levels as superannuation, indexed to the average wage instead of inflation.

She said it would also be raising core benefits for people without children, many of who live the starkest of circumstances and need help too.

Sam Huggard from the Council of Trade Unions agrees, saying pushing parents back into part-time work is likely to stress them out, rather than help them out.

"Pushing people into very low paid insecure work as a result of these changes will put real pressure on the most important job of parents, which is looking after their kids, particularly at that young age."

And Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said much of what National is giving with one hand will be taken away with the other.

She said the benefit increases are more than 40 years overdue, so it'd have been great if parents could keep more of what is a stingy amount.

Metiria Turei still sees Working for Families as a broken system.

"But only those on the lowest incomes are set for an increase, in most cases the price of a block of cheese."

Phil O'Reilly from Business New Zealand thinks most business will be supportive of that new spending, as they want the best for our communities.

"The challenge will be to make it work, and get those people back to work, and to make they are supported through childcare, transport costs, pastoral care etc."

And Children's commissioner Russell Wills is pleasantly surprised, given he wasn't expecting government to increase incomes for the poorest families with children.

But he said the Government still needs to make a concrete plan to help families out of poverty.