Banks gets an earful from protesters

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 16:07 07/11/2012
John Banks
FAIRFAX NZ

EARFUL: John Banks was on the steps of Parliament today when protesters launched a tirade at him.

John Banks
FAIRFAX NZ
HOUSING PROTEST: Activists were campaigning against Housing NZ changes and the removal of state houses from Glen Innes.

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Abuse was hurled at ACT leader John Banks today when he got caught up in a housing protest on the steps of Parliament.

The MP for Epsom had come out of his office to sign a petition against the practice of shark finning.

However, a large and noisy protest by more than 100 people against the demolition of state houses in Glen Innes and changes at Housing New Zealand was still winding up.

When the remaining housing protesters saw Banks they turned their attention to him, yelling: ''Shame on you, John Banks. You're a liar, you're a coward.''

Housing protesters had come to Parliament from Maraenui in Napier and Pomare in Wellington as well as from Glen Innes.

They voiced their concerns about thousands of vacant state houses, the removal of people off the Housing NZ waiting list and the closure of local Housing NZ offices.

The protest follows a number of demonstrations in Glen Innes over the removal of state homes. In the latest protest last week, veteran activist John Minto and 12 other people were arrested.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was arrested on October 12 at a similar protest.

In April several people were arrested after they lay beneath the wheels of a truck that was removing a state house. Following the arrests, about 100 people marched from the Glen Innes police station.

In May a man was knocked unconscious as protests turned violent and protesters accused police of using "quasi-military tactics".

Police denied they were heavy-handed.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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