18 Sep 2012

Protest against welfare reforms ends with arrests

11:03 pm on 18 September 2012

A protest against welfare reforms has ended at a Ministry of Social Development office in Auckland, with two protesters climbing down from the roof and being given a trespass notice.

Earlier, five others who had chained themselves to a pillar in the Ellerslie building were arrested and charged with wilful trespass.

Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson says the protesters believe reforms announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett are a brutal assault on beneficiaries and their families.

"The reforms that have come out are particularly punitive and harsh, and we felt that we really needed to come down here and send a message to the Government that we will not lie down and take this," Ms Thompson says.

The group says the protesters inside the building had bolted their arms in steel tubes to a central pillar.