Poll suggests most want protester out

Nelson businessman Glen James is heartened by public calls for protester Hone Ma Heke to move from his Trafalgar St site.

The response follows a Nelson Mail story yesterday about Mr James placing a cardboard placard on the street with a message critical of Hone Ma Heke's protest.

Hone Ma Heke, whose real name is Lewis Stanton, sits every day outside the Farmers store with numerous placards on the footpath.

He maintains it is a protest against the Nelson City Council and has continued his occupation for 14 months. He has been convicted on graffiti and trespass charges and is before the court charged with assault.

In a Nelson Mail online poll 473 voters out of 531, 89 per cent, said he should be moved.

Mr James said it was good that the public was speaking out, both for and against.

"It's brilliant. It's an overwhelming majority that want him to go and it's good that people are speaking out instead of sitting back. Even people who agree with him say it's time for him to move on."

Reader 'Not my real name' said: "I have been told that Hone Ma Heke doesn't receive any benefit and he takes pride in that fact. However, it is time he stopped making our city look like a 'doss house' and move away from protesting there."

John said: "I believe in his cause that we should all have our say, but sitting there all day in protest is not doing anything. If he had a petition or something would be normal, but what he is doing is not a protest, it's a pest."

A woman said: "He shouted 'stuck-up b....' at me when I was walking down the street and stepped on one of his rubber duckies that were in a puddle in the middle of the street. I cross the road instead of walking past him. He is intimidating, collecting far too much sympathy from visitors who have no idea, and an eyesore to our great town."

Nicki said: "It's a strange thing to have to wait in line behind a man with his `No Food, No Income' signs while he orders his delicious fresh espresso coffee."

Council staff and Trafalgar St businesspeople are to meet about the issue on June 21.

The Nelson Mail