TODAY |

Dunedin couple cycle 1300km with coffin, but denied final 50 metres in Parliament protest

After biking 1300km with a coffin in tow from the South Island, a Dunedin couple calling for increased medicine funding have been denied the opportunity of placing their symbolic coffin at the top of Parliament's steps as planned.

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Julian and Camilla Cox rode from Dunedin to Wellington with their petition, but were unable to travel the final 50 metres due to Parliamentary security. Source: 1 NEWS

By Abbey Wakefield

Twenty days ago, Julian and Camilla Cox set out on their bikes with a coffin trailing behind containing a petition, calling for a review into Pharmac and for the Government to immediately double its $1 billion budget. 

The coffin symbolises more than 250,000 New Zealanders fighting for access to modern-day treatments, a press release from Patient Voice Aotearoa stated.

Upon arrival in Wellington today, an argument between Parliament security guards and the pair broke out after they were denied access to place the coffin at the top of Parliament's steps.

Malcolm Mulholland from Patient Voice Aotearoa said he made arrangements with the Speaker's office yesterday and approval had been given for the placement of the coffin.

1 NEWS has approached the Speaker's office for comment.

Ms Cox was brought to tears by the ordeal.

"Our families are dying, our families are being torn apart, and we have small-minded people bickering over 50 metres on public space," she told 1 NEWS today.

"You ask how I feel, I'm furious and I'm disgusted and I'm disappointed with our politicians and representatives."

The coffin was then placed on the forecourt, before Mr Cox began his speech directed at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

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Julian and Camilla Cox are inspired by their 19-year-old daughter, who has cystic fibrosis. Source: 1 NEWS

In a statement, Health Minister David Clark said: "I know the Health Committee will carefully consider their petition and I look forward to seeing the committee's response."

The Coxes' daughter has cystic fibrosis but say Pharmac doesn't fund the drugs she needs.