Prime Minister John Key and fellow politicians were verbally abused by protesters during ugly scenes at Waitangi this morning.
Protester Wi Popata heckled prominent Maori MPs at Te Tii Marae, calling Dr Pita Sharples, Te Ururoa Flavell and Hekia Parata “John Key’s niggers.”
“The Treaty’s not for sale,” chanted others.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Maori Wardens and Diplomatic Security Services members kept them away from Mr Key as he made a forced exit after a farcical gathering, during which officials could not be heard for all the chanting.
One protester cried “scumbag” as Mr Key entered his vehicle. …
The mood turned to calm after the Prime Minister’s exit, with delegations from Labour and the Greens finding a more cordial atmosphere than Government representatives had experienced earlier.
Prime Minister John Key says fear did not drive him from today’s Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Tii Marae, adding there was good security in place. Key and his entourage made a quick retreat from Te Tii Marae after a standoff with protesters, who drowned out his speech with megaphones. …
As protesters advanced on him, plain-clothed police and Maori wardens attempted to hold the angry mob back, but the protesters still squeezed forward. Key and the other dignitaries made a quick escape with Maori wardens protecting them on either side.
Screams of “Go home National” could be heard as his cars left for the Copthorne Hotel.
If the Maori Party needed any further reason to reconsider their servile relationship with National, they have it. And if National needed any further reason to fear the backlash from dropping the consideration of “inconvenient” treaty clauses from legislation, well they have that too.
Update: Title of post updated in accordance with comments. Read Marty Mars’ take on events here.