Friday 22 May 2015

Protests in Auckland

The video footage shows police violence against demonstrators

Post-Budget protests turn violent

Protesters outside John Key's post-Budget speech in Auckland.

22 May, 2015

Protesters and police have clashed outside SkyCity Grand Hotel in Auckland below where John Key is giving a post-Budget speech to business delegates.

Led by Sue Bradford, the protestors known as Auckland Action Against Poverty charged at entrances to the building as the Prime Minister arrived, but were stopp by stopped by police who created a barricade.

Around 60 protestors chanted and marched during Mr Key's speech, which was taking place in the convention centre above.

More tense scenes erupted when broadcaster Paul Henry arrived; he was ambushed and shoved around, forcing police to intervene.

The group are unsatisfied with the Budget's approach on poverty which includes the Government's commitment to spending $240 million a year on tackling child poverty – benefit-dependent families will be about $25 a week better off after tax.

But, the new Budget notes solo parents and partners will have to be prepared for part-time work when their youngest child reaches the age of three, as opposed to five, and protestors claim the additional benefits will not compensate for the costs of living, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Ms Bradford released a statement yesterday saying the Government has tried a mean trick on the public, doing too little too late.

"The promise of $25 a week extra for beneficiaries with children sounds good, but is too little, too late, and in many cases meaningless.

"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. It would also be raising core benefits for people without children, many of whom live with unemployment, sickness and disability in the starkest of circumstances. They need help too," she says.

RadioLIVE released a video showing police using force and throwing a protester the ground.

But Mr Key says he thought the protesters would have rather been cheering in favour of the Budget's stance on poverty.

"Sometimes they protest and you might be able to see some rationality behind it," he says.

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

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