Auckland Mayor Len Brown was the target of a lamington attack at Auckland University yesterday by an angry supporter of wharf workers.
Mr Brown was coming to the end of one of his regular Mayor in the Chair public sessions in the university quadrant when a young man with dreadlocks approached him with a pink lamington, smearing pieces of the sponge cake on the mayor's face and shirt. The man then ran off.
He was part of a group of 10 to 15 Socialist Aotearoa members protesting against Mr Brown's lack of support for workers in the bitter Ports of Auckland dispute where 300 striking union workers were fired by management on Wednesday.
Auckland University Students' Association vice-president Daniel Haines said the group was chanting "Workers' rights are under attack, stand up, fight back" and "Whose side are you on?"
The mayor's chief press secretary, Glyn Jones, said students recognised the attacker as one of the protesters from the Occupy Auckland movement in Aotea Square.
Mr Jones said Mr Brown was not unnerved and walked back to the Town Hall. The mayor has not referred the matter to the police.
Mr Brown spoke with three striking port workers.
The students' association education vice-president, Sam Bookman, sent an apology to Mr Brown.
Meanwhile, Auckland bishops are offering their leadership in the hope of solving the port dispute.
Anglican prelates Ross Bay and Kito Pikaahu and Catholic leader Patrick Dunn last night offered to help the feuding parties, saying it was vital they kept talks open.
"We cannot promise anything but the offer of our leadership in a spirit of reconciliation," said Bishop Bay, "as the escalation of this dispute threatens the wellbeing of families and our city."