Rough day for ACT's John Banks

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 15:43 07/11/2012
John Banks
JOHN BANKS: ACT leader.

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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 practise of shark finning.

However, a larger and noisy protest by more than 100 people against the demolition of state houses 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 lair, you're a coward.''

The crowd continued booing Banks and a group of women appeared to recall his controversial 1996 comments when he referred to abortion as the ''murder'' of  ''unborn children''.

''Not John Banks and not the state, women must control their fate,'' the women chanted.

Banks said he had come to shark fin protest because it was a good cause.

''That is the barbaric practice and obscene cruel of slicing fins of sharks and throwing them back into the ocean for commercial gain.''

He said he did not feel awkward at being caught up in the housing protest.

''I don't know what they are on about.''

ACT was one of seven parties who today signed the New Zealand Shark Alliances' national petition to end shark finning in New Zealand. National is the only party not to sign it.

Shark Alliance spokeswoman Katrina Subedar said the practise put at risk the survival of some shark species and had been banned in almost 100 countries.

''It is shameful that this disgusting practice is still legal inside our Exclusive Economic Zone.''

Housing protesters had come to Parliament from state housing areas of Glen Innes, Maraenui in Napier and Pomare in Wellington.

They also 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.

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