29 Mar 2012

Ports protest group disrupts council meeting

12:43 pm on 29 March 2012

A group protesting about Auckland's waterfront dispute has disrupted a council meeting, forcing the councillors to change rooms and call police.

Members of Socialist Aotearoa and Citizens Against Privatisation began chanting loudly during the meeting at the Manukau council building on Thursday.

The group of about 20 people began chanting after Auckland Mayor Len Brown declined some councillors' calls for a discussion about the council's handling of the waterfront dispute.

Mr Brown told the councillors his preference was to handle the matter by writing a letter to Auckland Council Investments Limited, which owns and manages Ports of Auckland.

Some councillors are concerned the investment company is too close to the port company, rather than being the council's independent adviser.

Meredydd Barrar says the council needs to assume responsibility for Auckland's public-owned assets and services, including Ports of Auckland.

"We're hoping today that a motion will be put of no-confidence in the Ports of Auckland or Auckand (Council) and this would be the signal that our council and our councillors are assuming direct democratic control of these important utilities."

The meeting resumed in an adjacent room and the protesters, who chanted for just over an hour, left the building by midday.