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Banks firm on heavy-handed response

March 13, 2002

Banks firm on heavy-handed response

Auckland Mayor John Banks says he will not apologise for having protestors dragged from the Auckland Town Hall last night.

About a dozen protestors were ejected – some forcibly by private security guards - from the reception lounge upstairs at the Town Hall in a continually disrupted meeting.

“I make no apology for that action whatsoever and the costs of security should be sheeted home to those responsible,” said Mr Banks.

Mr Banks said the meeting was shifted to a bigger venue to accommodate more members of the public, but they had to allow the business of the council to proceed.

Opening the meeting, Mr Banks said that the purpose of having the public attend the meeting was so that they could observe the workings of the council as part of the democratic process.

But he said they did not have the right to disrupt, or to take part in the proceedings of the meeting.

Mr Banks criticised Dr Bruce Hucker, the leader of the City Vision party, whom he said “abdicated” his responsibility to stay and debate on behalf of those he represented by leaving the meeting.

“Mr Hucker had the opportunity to represent the people who were shouting gratuitous insults and he walked off,” said Mr Banks.

On the question of how many more disruptive council meetings he would tolerate, Mr Banks said he would be “very reluctant” to close council meetings to the public.

“I never see myself closing meetings to the public, but I can see the time arriving – and I hope I don’t – where the public will be asked to leave for safety and security reasons.

“But I would never see the time when I would close council meetings to the public and the media. That would be wrong.”


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