Protest brings traffic to standstill
LATEST: Hundreds of people took to the streets in Christchurch to protest against asset sales as part of a series of marches around the country today.
The Stop the Thefts protest marches saw thousands of people gather in 15 main centres around New Zealand, including several hundred in Christchurch.
The Christchurch event began at 2pm, with hundreds of Cantabrians chanting and waving placards as they made their way along Riccarton Rd from Hagley Park.
Traffic was brought to a standstill as marchers walked across the roundabout at Deans Ave and Riccarton Rd.
The marchers then kept to the west-bound lane of Riccarton Rd, with marshals and police nearby to keep people safe.
The marchers walked 1.6km along Riccarton Rd to the Shand Crescent Reserve, where several people shared their views against asset sales with the crowd.
Wendy Iller marched with her children Rose, three, and Aaron, four, because she wanted them to "have a good future".
"Being from the UK, I know what happens to assets if they're sold off - everything goes up."
Katherine Peet said she was protesting "as a grandmother" who wanted to "make sure we don't lose the future for our children".
"From my point of view I just really feel these assets are the best assets for New Zealand. They shouldn't be selling them off, the economics doesn't make sense."
Shanti Ahluwalia, from the United States, said he planned to live in New Zealand for a long time and believed it was important for the country to keep its assets.
"We really showed these assets are an important thing to Christchurch people," he said.
Green MP Eugenie Sage said there was a "great turnout" for the Christchurch event and it showed "how stupid" Cantabrians thought the Government's asset sale plan was.
"I think what's been shown this week with the water rights debate, the Maori water rights, is we need to have a sound conversation about that. Selling off the assets before we've resolved these issues ... it's a recipe for disaster."
Christchurch Southern area commander Inspector Malcolm Johnston said police were "very happy" with how the march went.
" We found it went really well. It would have been better if they stuck to the footpath, but it's their call."
Motorists were also "very tolerant and patient", with the delays being shorter than expected.
"We found three that weren't [happy], but 200 that were."
He estimated about 400 people took part in the event.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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