14 Feb 2012

Small turnout of protesters for Invercargill hui

5:58 pm on 14 February 2012

Finance Minister Bill English has been met by a subdued group of protesters as he continues his tour of New Zealand to explain the rationale for partially selling state owned assets.

About 30 people attended Tuesday's hui at the Murihiku Marae, on the outskirts of Invercargill.

Inside, Mr English told the audience there would be no referendum on the issue but it was important to understand Maori views before final decisions are made.

Ngai Tahu Runanga representative Stewart Bull told the minister the selling of assets was like selling stolen goods. He said the sales were morally wrong.

Mr Bull challenged the government party about the decision not to allow the media to record video of the question time session.

A small group holding placards stood at the gates of the marae as Mr English's car was driven past.

Protest organiser, Congress of Trade Union member Anna Huffstutler, says she was disappointed by the turnout but the message was still conveyed to Mr English that people in Southland are against asset sales.

The protesters were asked not to bring their placards onto the marae property and Ms Huffstutler says they respected those wishes.

Mr English later flew to Christhchurch, where about 50 people gathered for the hui there.

Seven hui have now been held in a series of 10 across the country .