Questions are being raised over the cost of security at the annual National Party conference over the weekend.
Police outnumbered around 80 students and Poverty Action Group protesters, who timed their protest to coincide with Prime Minister John Key's final address at the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland.
Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford said security for the conference must have cost a fortune.
"It's totally over the top. As you can see there's police everywhere, and I'm sure hiding everywhere like they were yesterday."
Minister of Police Anne Tolley said the security was justified to make sure no one on either side of the fence got hurt.
"Everyone has a right, a democratic right to their own political views.
"These guys have a right to be kept safe just as the people who are in the National Party conference."
The protesters were picketing over asset sales and poverty on the final day of the conference.
Police said they prepared for more protesters after hundreds gathered outside the venue yesterday.
The group marched from Britomart to SkyCity to campaign against cuts to student loans and allowances, as well as the proposed part sale of State Owned Enterprises.