Anti-corporate protesters raise voices

By Chloe Johnson

Protesters plan to stay in Aotea Square. Photo / Amos Chapple
Protesters plan to stay in Aotea Square. Photo / Amos Chapple

Thousands of well-behaved protesters occupied city centres around New Zealand yesterday, claiming our country is controlled by corporate greed.

The protest was part of a global movement following Occupy Wall St in the United States, where thousands gathered to oppose economic inequality.

Protests were held in six cities yesterday - Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill - with the main message being that 99 per cent of communities were controlled by a greedy 1 per cent of people.

Other issues raised included New Zealand's high unemployment rate, minimum wages, child poverty and the treatment of victims of abuse.

Dozens planned to set up camp for the next week in public domains around the country until their voices were heard.

New Plymouth protester Luke Drabble, 17, said he would sleep under the stars for the next seven days.

"We are right outside the courthouse. I'm planning on sleeping under the trees in sleeping bags ... I want to get as many people aware of the problems as I can and the only thing that will stop me protesting is a decision of change," he said.

About 600 people marched up Queen St with banners, face masks, flags and musical instruments, attracting a crowd of curious onlookers.

French visitor Farjov Patrick said it wasn't just the Rugby World Cup which had him entertained.

"It's interesting to watch: New Zealand has a big problem? France has the same thing as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," Patrick said.

Auckland protester Sheree Carbery, 40, supported the march with her 6-year-old son Braydon McCallum who joined in by shouting: "John Key is a donkey".

"I believe in what these people are doing. I'm totally against the Government because they don't give people voices," Carbery said.

Her partner, Ryan McCallum, 40, said he left the corporate world to become a life coach for men and boys.

"It feels right to be here to represent the part of New Zealand who still feel a bit embarrassed to step forward and voice we need change," he said.

Auckland police Inspector Willie Taylor said the event ran smoothly and no one was arrested.

- Herald on Sunday

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