Protesters dressed as sex toys greet PM

By Alexandra Newlove -

Protesters dressed as sex toys who attempted to hijack the sod-turning of Whangarei's Hundertwasser Art Museum say they are not against the project.

Instead, they wanted to express their discontent at the the scrapping of a Northland rail line expected to put another 150 logging trucks on to Northland roads.

Prime Minister John Key was in Whangarei today, leading the ground breaking ceremony for the Hundertwasser "folly structure", following last month's announcement the Government would contribute $4 million to the $16.25 million needed for the museum.

While the PM greeted project volunteers inside Whangarei Art Museum, a boat behind the museum was attracting the attention of police.

Protesters on board were picking up on the theme of Waitangi's "Dildo Baggins", a nickname earned by Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce after he was hit in the face with a sex toy thrown by a protester on February 5.

Protest organiser Ian Sturt said he wanted to make it "100 per cent clear" his group were not anti-Hundertwasser. They were, he said, seizing the opportunity to express their discontent at Kiwirail's axing of the Otiria rail line, north of Whangarei.

The group gathered to witness the PM turn the sod largely ignored the protesters, who sung over loud speakers from the prow of their boat, parked about 50m from the ceremony.

Police had previously spoken to the protesters and closed in around the boat as their protest continued.

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