Protesters and SkyCity security clash as they try to storm
a lunch at SkyCity hosted by Prime Minister John Key. Photo
/ Dean Purcell
Chants of "John Key's a millionaire, that's why he
doesn't care," and, "One, two, three, four, stop the war on the
poor" rang out as Prime Minister John Key began his post-budget
speech at Auckland's Sky City Convention Centre this afternoon.
But Mr Key seemed unfazed by the noisy reception, joking with
business leaders that the rowdy bunch outside should read the
One of the protest organisers, Blockade the Budget spokesman
Tim Lamasse, said they were protesting against continued cuts
to tertiary education.
Class sizes were increasing, government funding was
decreasing and university rankings had been dropping under
the National Government, he said. "We've had enough."
More than 20 police officers worked to contain the
protesters, forming human barriers outside the Sky City Grand
Hotel, and entrances to the Sky Tower to prevent the
protesters storming the convention centre.
Bemused tourists were escorted from their taxis by police and
ushered through a heavily guarded side door.
Inside the convention, Mr Key began his speech by saying that
while Finance Minister Bill English was disappointed that the
Budget had dropped as the lead story from a major news
website by 6pm yesterday in place of a story about a cat
saving a boy from a dog, it showed there were no great shocks
in the Budget.
He joked to the crowd of business leaders gathered that he
preferred to see that than another headline about his
daughter Stephanie removing another layer of clothing in the
name of art.
Referencing the protesters still gathered outside, Mr Key
apologised if convention members were intimidated, adding
that as the protest had been organised before the Budget was
released, it was highly unlikely they had read it.
"Maybe they should go away and have a bit of a look at it
- Brendan Manning of APNZ