Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Occupy 'hijacked by rival agendas'

An Auckland activist says there has been an erosion in the number of genuine campaigners. Photo / Richard Robinson
An Auckland activist says there has been an erosion in the number of genuine campaigners. Photo / Richard Robinson

One of the original protesters at the Occupy Auckland camp believes the site has been hijacked by people pushing their own agendas and not those that sparked the movement.

The Auckland Council yesterday produced an email from Andrew Hendrie as evidence in the Auckland District Court as it sought an injunction to trespass the protesters.

Mr Hendrie, a health activist, said he had been involved with the Occupy Auckland site from the first day on October 15, building the camp, running seminars and helping with police liaison.

"I was encouraged by the gathering and networking of numerous concerned citizens, with a broad spectrum of issues including environmental, poverty, children, regulatory and more," he said in an email to the council on Monday.

Mr Hendrie said as the weeks rolled on he witnessed an erosion in the number of genuine campaigners, an increase in the number of homeless residents and a lack of controls around new members and their behaviour.

There had been "repeated hijacking of the general assemblies for issues not consistent with those which birthed the occupy movement", he said.

Mr Hendrie said the council had made a consistent and genuine effort to understand the issues raised by Occupy Auckland and had given assurance that these would be raised in the Auckland region and with central government.

The Herald understands that if the court grants an injunction it will follow the path adopted in Toronto and give the occupiers a few days to move on.

In Toronto this led to many of the occupiers departing and the police clearing the tents of those remaining.

An affidavit to the court, in the name of council risk and assurance manager Natalie Verdouw, said cleaning up the campsite once the protesters left would cost about $5180, but it would take three to four weeks to restore the grass on three terraces at a cost of $61,500 and $4240 to repair damage to trees.

There was unknown damage to the irrigation system, the waterproof membrane system designed to stop water seeping into the underground Civic carpark, seating, rubbish bins and tree hardware, Ms Verdouw said.

Checking the waterproof mechanism was estimated to cost $70,000.

- NZ Herald

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