While the National Party gathered to celebrate another year in power at their Christmas BBQ, the smoke was coming from outside the party where an advocacy group for the poor had gathered to protest against the Government’s treatment of New Zealand’s most vulnerable families.
Around 30 members of the Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) group are occupying the balcony of the Auckland Grammar Old Boy’s Pavilion where the event is being held. Another 30 have formed a picket line
outside the entry.
"John Key is a millionaire, that's why he doesn't care," the protestors shouted.
Police forced the group into a corner of the balcony that rings the pavilion and looks into the party.
"Blood on your hands," the group yelled at MP Judith Collins as she arrived.
The Government had little reason to celebrate while many Kiwi families struggle to put presents under the tree, AAAP spokeswoman Sarah Thompson said.
“We work daily with people who are struggling to get by and Christmas is a stressful time for anybody let alone those trying to put food on the table,” said Thompson.
The National Party had waged a “war on the poor” and blamed beneficiaries for the government’s failure to improve unemployment and inequality, she said.
“For National, their 2013 achievements include creating yet more draconian rules for beneficiaries; eroding the rights of our most vulnerable; attacking women and parenting; and blaming the unemployed for the Government’s failure to create jobs.''
“National’s welfare policies are all about trading the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people for votes in election after election,” Thompson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News