Bill English defends Anzac Day protests

Prime Minister Bill English has weighed in on the right for people to protest on Anzac Day, saying they're "allowed to express a point of view".

A national debate was sparked after 12-year-old James Broome-Isa chided protesters in Wellington, calling their banners against war in the Middle East "wrong, wrong, wrong".

Mr English offered his two cents on the debate on Wednesday, saying the freedom to protest was what soldiers gave their lives for. 

"What we're remembering on Anzac Day is people who gave their lives for freedom and part of that freedom is the ability to protest."

He called the Wellington protest "minor" compared to previous years, and said he didn't see any "misbehaving or disrespectful" behaviour.

"As long as people are acting within the law, they're allowed to express a point of view," Mr English said.

Mr English read a moving extract of The Silent Division by Ormond Edward Burton at the Wellington Anzac commemoration, describing the horrors of war.

When questioned over choosing a poem often used for pacifist demonstration, he said he "hadn't looked into the history of it" but thought it was important "people understand the realities of war".