February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Rua)
Continued from February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Tahi).
Long time socialist and Alliance stalwart, Larry Hannah, made a firm point about the folly of selling public assets,
The media finally arrived and started filming,
Occupy Wellington unfurled their banner,
About two dozen protestors crowded around the front of TPK’s entrance,
Below; Roimata (L) and Joyce (R) had joined the protest for their own reasons,
“I’m just concerned for my mokopuna”, said Roimata.
“I’m here for the important issues that affect maoridom,” added Joyce.
Benjamin, at the doors to TPK,
Dr Peter Love, from the Tenths Trust, and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, made his way to TPK,
By 3pm, there were about 26 protesters and three police. By 3.05, two more Police arrived,
The newly arrived policeman had a quiet chat with Benjamin, for a few minutes,
Ian, from the Workers Party, addressed passers-by, and on-lookers. He started out by explaining that “we are here today, against asset sales.” He added, “we want to see these assets run for public benefit, not private profit.”
The media filmed Ian on the loudhailer, as he continued to make his case against asset sales, and honouring Treaty committments,
John then took the loudhailer, and said,
“This is not consultation, this is bullshit. We cannot afford to give away our country to foreign corporations! Instead of sitting on our arses, let’s show [them] this country is not for sale!”
Across the intersection, two more police officers were watching events,
They seemed bemused by the protest – unlike their colleagues who were moving freely amongst the protestors, and chatting amicably.
By 3.13pm, the number of Maori Wardens increased to eight; police numbers went up to five; and at least one Diplomatic Protection Squad plainclothesman was present,
The body language of the police (above) seemed in stark contrast to the laid back, quiet nature of the protesters,
Warwick gave his views on state asset sales – none complimentary to the government,
TPK Regional Leader, Te Huia (Bill) Hamilton, stopped for a friendly Kiaora and brief chat with this blogger, before proceeding on his way,
At 3.30, Hone Harawira arrived, and was well-recieved by people present,
A chat with a journo,
Hone was given the loudspeaker and he gave a brief address to the crowd,
Hone spoke well, addressing the issue of state asset sales, and the relevance of the Treaty.
“Tena koe! Talofa lava!
That’s exactly what they expect to happen with these shares, and it is our duty; it is our obligation as citizens of Aotearoa, whether we are Maori or whatever, to do our best to stop this government from pushing this door open. Because once open, these assets will be sold on the open market and our shareholdings, so-called 51%, is simply going to be a majority shareholding in a company whose primary interest is generating profit.
Nothing at all to do with the public good, only the generating of profit. And any investor – doesn’t matter what sort of investor they are – they don’t put money into these sort of exercises because they love you and I. They put money in because they expect to get a lot of money back. And they get they money back in two ways; cutting costs, as they sack staff – or what are we doing outside Te Puni Kokiri?
The other way they do it is by raising prices! Now who’s going to pay for those higher prices in electricity? Ordinary New Zealand citizens! And who’s going to bear the most price? The poor ones! Poor pakeha, poor pacifica, poor everybody else, poor maori. So we have an obligation to ensure that those assets are retained in the hands of the New Zealand government as trustee on behalf of the nation as a whole.
I’d like to thank the Courts for their decision today, to say to the government to put a stop to the sal of the Crafar farms. Not necessarily because they were being sold to the Chinese, but because they are New Zealand land being sold out of the hands of New Zealand citizens.
The more and more people we can bring to support this kaupapa, the greater will be our own sense of our sovereignty and our ability to change the world. Life is not about sitting around and letting other people do to us what we wouldn’t allow to be done to anybody else. We have an obligation to our children, and our grandchildren, to take up this stand today, here in Wellington and thanks to [traffic noise] all of us, all around the country who’ve attended the Hui so far, and from what I understand an 88% rejection of the government’s plans to sell of these state assets.
Well, if there’s 88%, there must be a pretty low percentage in some of the other Huis because the three Huis I attended was a hundred percent opposition! One hundred percent!
Maori see the Treaty as a way of stopping these assets being sold on the open market until their Treaty claims are properly settled. New Zealanders should support Maori in these efforts because the Treaty exists in this particular instance to benefit all New Zealanders…
… Tena koutou, tena koutou.”
At about 3.40, Hone entered Te Puni Kokiri’s building and Seann advised the group that all protesters were invited to accompany him. It was agreed that all banners, placards, and loud-hailers would be left at the doorway-entrance. People were asked to behave in a respectful manner.
Maori wardens would watch over their gear, while they attended the Hui.
Mana Party member and protest organisor, Seann had said earlier that a more radical approach to attending the Hui would be to ask polite, but firm, questions of the politician present – and insist on straight answers. He believed it would be more productive using this approach, than yelling at English and Ryall.
One of the police constables who had stood by TPK’s door said later to this blogger that he was satisfied with the way the protestors had conducted themselves. He said, “everyone has the right to protest peacefully, and I wouldn’t want to see us become like other countries where protest was forbidden“.
His relaxed demeanour indicated that he was sincere in his views.
All in all, this was a peaceful and relaxed (not a “John Key relaxed”) protest.
Note: this Blogger did not attend the Hui because of another prior engagement. Additional commentary from attendees will be welcomed.
- TV1 News: nil
- TV3 News: nil
- Radio NZ: nil
- Dominion Post: nil
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* Recorded and transcribed mostly verbatim.
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For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ Minimum wage @ $15 p/hr
~ Marriage equality
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
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~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
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