4 Jan 2012

Removing camp will worsen homelessness - occupiers

7:06 pm on 4 January 2012

Protesters occupying Wellington's Civic Square say there will be an influx of homeless people on the city's streets if they are evicted.

The group has been camped in Civic Square since mid-October as part of the global Occupy movement and has ignored a notice delivered by the council on 22 December asking them to leave by 4pm on 4 January.

In a letter to council delivered on Wednesday, one of the protesters - Benjamin Easton - argued that the group is providing a social service to homeless people in the city and asked that they be allowed to stay for another six months.

Council spokesperson Richard MacLean rejected that argument, saying he did not believe removing the protesters would cause any problems.

"We're fairly well versed in the issues of homelessness in Wellington so I don't think we need Mr Easton to tell us what's going to happen or not."

Mr McLean says the council is considering legal options to evict the occupiers.

However, Mr Easton says he is involved in a "reasonable and non-violent protest" and will fight to stay in the square.