Ryan Bridge, Mark Richardson slam Waiheke protesters involved in violent clash

Ryan Bridge and Mark Richardson have slammed protesters involved in a violent clash with security guards on Waiheke Island recently.

Members of Protect Pūtiki are demonstrating outside Auckland Council on Friday, in a bid to stop construction of the Kennedy Point Marina on Waiheke. They say the marina endangers a nearby kororā (little blue penguin) colony and should never have been given resource consent. 

Earlier this month, tensions at the construction site boiled over, with a fight between protesters and security guards caught on film.

Speaking on The AM Show on Friday, hosts Bridge and Richardson said the footage made some of the protesters look like "thugs".

"I just can't help but feel sorry for those poor security guards," Bridge said on Friday.

"They had footage of those security guards, who are probably being paid the minimum wage, who are probably working really long hours, who have no interest in what people are protesting about at the marina. 

"They're there to do a job and they were beaten by, frankly, what looked like thugs."

Footage initially shared by Protect Pūtiki appeared to show a protester manhandled into the water by a man wearing a high-vis jacket. While the protester is in the water, the security guard then takes a step and kicks the person in the water in the head.

But the marina's developer said the footage was not an accurate representation of what happened, and subsequently released CCTV footage showing what took place beforehand. 

In that footage, a protester appeared to kick out at a security guard who falls in the water between the pontoon and a pile.

After seeing the extended footage, Bridge said those involved in the altercation should be ashamed.

"I have very little sympathy for some of those protesters - I'm sure they're not all like that. But for the ones that were doing that, I mean shame on them."

Richardson also criticised the behaviour of the protesters after admitting the initial video released by Protect Pūtiki "only showed one side of the story", and apologised for originally getting "stuck into" the security guards. 

"We in the media want to jump on one side of the rhetoric, and so we put the boot into the security guards - we can be a bit of a bully at times."

He said the security guard who was filmed kicking the protester was "basically just giving a bit back [of] what his mate had got".

"He had the crap kicked out of him, dangerously so, [and was] thrown in the water by these protesters who think that they have God on their side because they're protesting for the environment so they can do what they want - and when it comes back their way, no fair. 

"So I'm sorry I got stuck into them because I'm with the security guards."

Bridge said the footage was "hard to watch".

"The protesters knew the truth of what really happened but they had a selected video of what they released - which is what Mark reacted to - that they put out there, and they were happy with that being the truth of it. So shame on them."