Auckland Council Occupy eviction hearing continues

By Edward Gay

The Auckland Council is still arguing its case to evict protesters who have been based in Aotea Square since October 15. Photo / Richard Robinson
The Auckland Council is still arguing its case to evict protesters who have been based in Aotea Square since October 15. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Auckland Council is back in court this morning as it bids to have anti-capitalist protestors removed from city centre Aotea Square.

Members of the group Occupy Auckland have been camped in the public square since October 15.

According to an affavit filed with the court, the council estimates that cleaning up the public space will cost $5180 and it would take three weeks to restore grass on three terraces at a cost of $61,500.

It's also claiming damage worth $4240 to trees.

Council lawyer Ross Burns told the Auckland District Court that damage was ongoing and the costs to ratepayers were increasing.

He said it was important for people exercising their rights to respect the rights of others.

Mr Burns said the matter was not about political opinions but how they chose to express them.

"(Aotea Square is) there for all to use, not just a few,'' he said.

He said the patch of grass was "where kids can play and not worry about falling over and hurting themselves on the hard stones and paving area''.

Veteran protestor Penny Bright told the court that the occupy Auckland group was one of 2600 groups protesting around the world.

She said there was nothing new in using camping as a form of protest.

"A few squares of brown grass being wasted to get rid of us does not cut the mustard, Your Honour.''

Ms Bright accused some councillors of letting their political views influence their decision to take legal action against the protestors.

The hearing continues.

- APNZ

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