Watch: Protesters halt Auckland budget debate

Fri, Jun 9

Protesters were thrown out of an Auckland Council budget meeting this afternoon as councillors moved to support a partial sell-off of shares in the region's airport.

The meeting was interrupted while North Shore councillor Richard Hills spoke in favour of a partial sale of the council's Auckland Airport shares.

Council meetings are open to members of the public.

The two women identified themselves as members of Auckland Action Against Poverty after being led out of the town hall meeting room.

"No one's talking about borrowing more for our communities," one said. "You should be supporting the vision of the Manukau City Council, who kept those shares!"

They invited councillors to visit South Auckland to see the effects of the cuts.

Auckland Council is currently the airport's largest single shareholder, with around $2 billion invested — making up 18% of the total ownership of the company.

The shares were inherited from the Auckland City and Manukau City councils after the amalgamation and formation of the supercity council in 2010.

Mayor Wayne Brown called for the two women to be removed from the meeting room, and they were later walked out after speaking with councillors Alf Filipaina and Lotu Fuli — both of whom opposed the airport shares sale.

Fuli was visibly emotional as she returned to the meeting room. The protests added to a tense atmosphere as the proposal for a partial sale went to a vote.

The budget proposal was passed 14 votes to six, with one abstention. It came after 13 hours of debate with several alternative proposals suggested by councillors.