White poppy collectors threatened

BY TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 22/04/2010

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White poppy campaigners are hitting the streets for peace today after being verbally abused for their campaign.

The Dominion Post revealed yesterday that Peace Movement Aotearoa would be selling white poppies promoting peace the day before the Returned and Services Association held its red poppy fundraiser in memory of those who died in war.

The story brought a flood of responses to Fairfax's Stuff and dompost.co.nz websites. More than 9000 people voted in an online poll, with 67 per cent saying the white poppy campaign was shameful.

Peace Movement Aotearoa co-ordinator Edwina Hughes said members of the white poppy campaign were verbally threatened. She refused to elaborate but said some red poppy collectors were asking to collect for the white poppy too.

RSA chief executive Stephen Clarke said it was definitely regrettable white poppy campaigners were receiving verbal threats.

"We certainly appreciate part of going to war was for the freedom to hold campaigns and the RSA supports that. But in this case it's a cheap trick for their campaign."

He said it was regrettable that Wellington City Council had given permission for them to collect today.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said it was not unheard of to have street campaigns on consecutive days.

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- The Dominion Post

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