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'Thugs' say debate stunt a 'warning' to New Zealand

Published: 7:02AM Wednesday November 23, 2011 Source: ONE News

The leader of a group of balaclava clad men who crashed a candidates meeting in Christchurch last night said he wanted to show people what could happen if the disaffected rise up.

Former National Front leader Kyle Chapman marched into the debate with around 12 supporters and took control of the meeting hectoring with a megaphone and sloganeering.

The stunt scared some people in the audience but Chapman told ONE News it was all for publicity.

"The stunt was saying when people rise up you're going to be seeing people in balaclavas and camouflage uniforms," he said.

"It was basically us saying wise up now before it's too late. These are supposed to be educated politicians but they are so stupid they don't even wake up to the fact that suffering, poor populations get violent when they're hungry."

Chapman was an unsuccessful candidate at the Christchurch mayoral election in 2004 and now heads a group called the Right Wing Resistance.

It is described on its Facebook page as "a fascist street gang, mostly composed of boneheads (neo-Nazi skinheads), and led by veteran fascist militant (and Mormon) Kyle Chapman".

Chapman said last night's stunt was a protest against candidates who do not represent people who are struggling in New Zealand.

"We're not the only people doing protests, the left wing people are sitting in parks. They have their way of protesting we have our way," he said.

"We're not the only people unhappy with New Zealand."

Labour candidate Brendon Burns described the group as "white supremacist thugs"

"I think some people were quite frightened by it because you just didn't know what was going to happen," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"They were dressed in fatigues, no-one could see their faces, there were quite a few older people in the audience and they were quite shocked by it."

He said the men were only there for a few minutes and left once they had delivered their message.

However, Burns said it took quite a while for the audience to regain their composure after the interruption.

"I think it was an attempt at intimidation," he said.

"Mr Chapman stood for the mayoralty in Christchurch and I think if he wants to have a role in politics he should stand for public office rather than bully his way into meetings like this."

The men have been described as "gutless losers", and "cowards" on the ONE News Facebook page this morning.