War memorial protest sparks scathing Govt reaction

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial in Wellington. File photo / Mark Mitchell
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial in Wellington. File photo / Mark Mitchell

A banner protesting against asset sales that was placed on the National War Memorial in Wellington today has drawn fiery criticism from Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson.

Protesters climbed the scaffolding around the memorial's carillon early today, and draped a "No Asset Sales" banner across it.

The banner was removed a short time later by contractors who were doing earthquake strengthening work at the site.

In a statement this afternoon, Mr Finlayson said the group's actions were offensive to the whole community, no matter what an individual's political beliefs were.

"The memorial, which is home to the carillon, cenotaph and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, serves as a focus point for the solemn remembrance of brave New Zealanders who fought for this country and its values," he said.

"It is not a place for the shrill, attention seeking antics of people who would never have the courage to do the same."

The barrier around the carillon and the associated scaffolding would be heightened to prevent further access, Mr Finlayson said.

- APNZ

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