John Key's car egged in Napier

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 13:42 23/04/2014

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Hawke's Bay

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An egg, a rock and a ball were thrown at Prime Minister John Key's car and one man was arrested as he officially opened a new housing development aimed at improving Maraenui, Napier's poorest suburb, today.

Key had appeared slightly miffed that protesters heckled him during the opening ceremony. The objects were thrown as he left.

A 22-year-old man has been charged with disorderly behaviour after hurling one of the objects, Hawke's Bay police senior sergeant Nick Dobson said.

The man will appear in Napier District Court next Wednesday.

A spokeswoman from the Prime Minister's office said Key was not hit by any of the eggs. 

She was not sure whether key was inside the car or outside at the time.

"There were a few eggs thrown, which hit the car but nothing hit the Prime Minister."

Despite the crowds chanting "Stop the war on the poor", Key said he was impressed by the units.

They were nothing like the state house he grew up in, he told residents.

"The protesters, interestingly enough are protesting for us to do the very thing we're doing," Key said.

"So they probably should have come in and congratulated us instead of yelled at us."

Five families have already moved into the Maraenui development, which consists of seven two-bedroom single-storey units, centred around a central communal courtyard.

Crete Pinkham felt "lucky" to be living to be living in a warm, dry home.

"There's no mould!" Pinkham said.

"I lived in mould all these years. We'd clean it up and it would grow back."

Housing New Zealand owns 34 per cent of the properties in Maraenui. Across the road from the new developments, a block of empty state housing properties has windows boarded up.

Key said the Government had been working to improve the rundown Housing New Zealand stock over the last six years.

Large, uninsulated properties were being bowled down to make way for smaller, warmer units.

"Cold damp homes are no place for New Zealanders. We want to put them in the six-star properties we have here."

Key admitted a lot of work remained to be done, including attracting more social housing providers into the market.

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- The Dominion Post

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