Police were called to a Porirua City Council meeting that resulted in the mayor telling protesters to ''open your ears'' and the chief executive accusing them of ''going off half-cocked''.
The council is deciding what to do with Moana Court in Titahi Bay - 26 one-bedroom flats with low rent for older residents.
They are the council's only social housing and it is considering passing the flats on to another social housing provider.
A closed session was held last night for the council to hear technical points on its options. Mayor Nick Leggett assured the packed public gallery - containing almost all Moana Court residents - that no decision on the flats' future would be made in last night's session.
But residents fear they will be booted out and some believed a decision to sell would be made in private.
Graeme Ebbett, of the Titahi Bay Residents Association, who does not live in Moana Court, argued standing orders meant the session could not be closed and pledged to stay for the private session.
''If you call the police or use any other bullying techniques, I will remain and I ask anyone here with integrity to do the same.'' Moana Court resident Dave Fletcher also pledged to stay.
Before the public were excluded, chief executive Gary Simpson said the session had to be private to hear ''legally privileged'' information and the standing order - that it had to be heard in public - could be suspended by vote.
All councillors with the exception of deputy mayor Liz Kelly voted to suspend the standing order.
While most residents left, a hardcore of three plus Mr Ebbett remained.
While council staff called police, Mr Leggett and Mr Simpson got into a heated debate with those left.
Mr Leggett accused Mr Ebbett of scare-mongering among the elderly residents. ''Open your ears ... No decision is being made tonight. We will consult the community.'' Moana Court would remain as social housing, he said.
Mr Simpson told Mr Ebbett: ''Stop knowing everything until you have all the information ... you are going off half-cocked.'' After police arrived, the four remaining protesters agreed to leave.
Mr Leggett told The Dominion Post: ''No tenant will face eviction because of a change in owner ... There is no intention by council to sell the flats for commercial purposes.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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