New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's car has been egged when he officially launched a new housing development in an attempt to boost Napier's poorest suburb of Maraenui.
Although Key was not inside the car during the egging of his silver BMW's windscreen, he was grabbed by his security detail and pushed into the car. According to reports, a rock and a ball were also hurled at his vehicle. The prime minister seemed "slightly miffed" that protesters began heckling him during the opening ceremony.
A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with disorderly behavior after throwing one of the objects. Nick Dobson, Hawke's Bay police senior sergeant, said the man is set to appear in Napier District court on April 30.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office said Key was not hit by any of the objects, including the eggs. She added a few eggs hit the car but not Key.
A group of protesters had chanted "Stop the war on the poor" as Key inspected the housing units. He told residents in the area that the new houses were nothing like the ones he grew up in.
The prime minister said it was interesting that the protesters had come to shout for the very thing the government was doing. He added they should have congratulated the government for the new housing development.
Five families have already moved to the new housing development in Maraenui, which is composed of 72-bedroom single-storey units and a communal courtyard at the center. Housing New Zealand has 34 percent stake in the properties in Maraenui.
A heckler had disrupted Key's political rival earlier in April. A press conference with New Zealand Labour Party Leader David Cunliffe had to be terminated abruptly because a man drove up alongside Cunliffe and began shouting abuse. The Labour leader was trying to answer questions from reporters outside his electorate office in New Lynn when the stranger began cursing the official.
While in his car, the man shouted, "f*** you! F*** Labour, F**** unemployment!" He then gave Cunliffe the finger. Due to the man's sudden tirade, Cunliffe's staff was forced to end the press conference immediately.