392,000 New Zealanders send a clear message to John Key – Part Rua
NZ, Wellington, 12 March 2013 – Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced the first speaker, Greypower’s President, Roy Reid,
“So please welcome up the man who initiated this historical moment for us – the biggest citizens initiated referendum in [New Zealand's] history!”
“As President of Greypower, I wish to inform you that Greypower has been opposed to the sale of state owned assets for a number of years. And this was reconfirmed at our annual general meeting two years ago. We advised all the political parties in this House that we were opposed to them selling any of our assets.
Our generation worked hard. We paid the taxes, to build our existing assets. They’re not for sale. They belong to all New Zealanders.
I sincerely thank all those who worked from one end of New Zealand to the other, to collect those 394,000 signatures just behind us. It’s the biggest petition ever presented to this House.
I pay tribute to our co-supporters, the New Zealand students association. For being involved with us, because it shows the country that we are united from the elderly to the younger generations…
…I’m sure that we’ve got enough valid signatures in those boxes to force the referendum. And [despite] no respect for what this government today says, the people of New Zealand will have their say.”
It as perhaps fitting that Mr Reid was given first opportunity to address the crowd. It was indeed his generation, and others before him, who sacrificed so much to build what we have in New Zealand today. And which a few greedy, short-sighted number of our fellow New Zealanders seem unable to comprehend that these assets do, indeed, belong to us all.
Not just to those with the cash to buy shares.
Our elected representatives certainly did not hesitate to show their agreement with Mr Reid’s comments,
Ms Maniapoto Jackson then invited the next speaker; ex-Vice President of the Auckland Students Association and Ngai Tahu; Arena Williams,
Ms Williams greeted the crowd in Te Reo and her following message was short, blunt, and to the point,
“There’s one message that the government needs to take home from such an over-whelming support of this petition, and that’s Stop the asset sales and give New Zealanders a chance to have a say on this really important issue!”
The next invited guest-speaker was economist, Peter Conway, from the Council of Trade Unions,
Mr Conway said,
“The Union movement is really proud to be here today at this amazing event and I just want to say, fantastic effort. Well done everybody! It’s awesome.
Now it might have been a little bit easier if for me to have the backing of a one million dollar advertising campaign, and maybe if we we’d been able to do it all on line. But I actually think that the fact that we went out there into communities where people work, live, and play and debated the issues; talked to people about it and got such a fantastic response, is really a testament to our democracy…
… So this is part of our democracy. And what we’re saying to the government; respect democracy… Let’s get this referendum up, and the Council of Trade Unions, on behalf of the union movement, is calling on the government to halt all asset sales and listen to the people.
Kia kaha, and thanks very much.”
Ms Maniapoto Jackson then welcomed the Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Mt Albert, David Shearer,
After expressing his welcome, Mr Shearer gave a brief thanks to the people, followed by a similarly brief message,
“Look, I just wanted to start by saying ‘thank you’, ‘thank you’ for all of those people who went out day after day, weekend after weekend, who stood on cold corners in the middle of winter and got people to sign this petition. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who care about this country so much that they put their signature to this petition.
This is about the transfer of an asset that we all own into the hands of a very few. That’s what it’s about, it’s about fairness. It [asset sales] is not fair.
This referendum will make the government listen to New Zealanders.
The fight will go on. It’s not finishing today. It will go on and we in the Labour Party will continue to fight this until 2014.
I wanted to say, as the boxes were being put up there, I was thinking that “Another Brick in the Wall” tune came into my mind, and I was thinking “We Don’t Want your Asset Sales Programme John Key”…
… Once again thank you for your effort, thank you for being here today. Kia Kaha, let’s take it to the government.”
Before Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced the next speaker, Green Party co-leader Russell Norman, she briefly pointed out that the Parties behind her were unified, “with only the odd absence, which was duly noted“.
Mr Norman then addressed the people,
Mr Norman then addressed the people,
“Today we stand here here on behalf of the millions of New Zealanders who are opposed to the sale of their assets. Today we stand here on behalf of the hundreds of thousands von New Zealanders who have signed this petition, behind us. Today we stand here on behalf of future generations who are relying on us to stand up for our country.
And that is why we have done this massive piece of work that you see behind us.
It has been incredibly hard work on behalf of thousands and thousands of people to go out and collect these signatures. It is despicable that the Prime Minister then says that the people who signed this petition were children and tourists! Prime Minister you do not know New Zealanders!
If the Prime Minister of New Zealand thinks that the people who signed this petition, the 400,000 people who signed this petitition, are not real New Zealanders, then he is in the wrong country…
… Real New Zealanders are the ones who worked and laboured to build those assets up so that we could inherit them. Real New Zealanders are the ones who will look after them so that we can pass them on to those who come after us…
… We have a mandate to keep our assets. The Prime Minister has no mandate to sell them.”
Ms Maniapoto Jackson then introduced Mr Peters, saying “if there’s anyone who can talk about justice and fairness, it’s Winston Peters“,
“…Mr Key does does not have a mandate to make these sales. We all know the last election result and he relies upon the vote of Peter Dunne, who you know, with your money, at the last election had TV adverts saying that he would not do that. So there is no mandate.
We come now to the referendum, which is a chance for Mr Key to see whether he’s got the public backing and he doesn’t have even have the backing of one third of the National Party vote by every survey that you and I have seen.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be difficult over the next few months on this issue, but I want to make something very, very, clear. Unless we make it clear to everyone who’s buying, that after the next election, whenever they fly the white flag, we intend to take back those shares at no greater price than they bought it for, then we will not be making the message very clear for Mr Key who governs for the few and very few.
Now your problem is, you don’t own a casino. Otherwise he’d be listening to you.
And you’re you’re not a Hobbit or some wide-boy from Hollywood, otherwise, he’d be listening to you.
No wonder he fell upon the defence of tourists, because that’s what Mr Key is; a CV Prime Minister, who will soon go, on issues like that…
… this is just the beginning. It is not the end.”
Next up, Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced “the wonderful leader of the Mana Party, and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira“,
Mr Harawira injected a note of humour into the afternoon, and the crowd enjoyed his off-beat way of giving a speech,
“Look I’m going to do most of my korero in Maori, so the best way for you to support it is, every time I stop to take a breath, clap like crazy!”
The crowd obliged with enthusiasm, clapping and cheering each time he paused during his korero.
Ending his speech in Te Reo, he added,
“Now just for a short chant, a short chant, eh? Because Moana get’s all the the recording rights for this little gig, so mine is going to be a short little chant. So just follow after me. You ready?
“Aotearoa is not for sale!”
The crowd responded, “Aotearoa is not for sale“.
“C’mon, c’mon, now you can do better than that,” he ‘admonished the crowd with a smile.He repeated, “Aotearoa is not for sale!”
The responded boomed back, “AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE!”
“Tell John Key to Go to hell!”
“TELL JOHN KEY TO GO TO HELL!”
And with that, Hone Harawira finished with a cheerful “Kia ora tatou!”.
As far as political speeches went, it was one of the shortest and more entertaining that this blogger has heard for a while. He certainly injects a bit of fun into a political event.
As an intriguing aside, this blogger managed to capture this picture of two Davids and a Damian. Their body language seemed to belie any suggestion of tension or ‘struggle between Messrs Cunliffe and Shearer.
Hmmmm… One has to wonder…
On a closing note, Ms Maniapoto Jackson ‘encouraged’ (dragged!) Hone Harawira back to the microphone to sing a duet – an old song from their protest days together,
And final posed-pics from Ms Maniapoto Jackson and Hone Harawira, after their singing-duet finale,
It’s interesting to compare the persona of Hone Harawira in the media, especially in his early days in Parliament – with the man who presents to the people, at public gatherings. There is a warmth and sincerity to the man that is almost wholly lacking in his MSM appearances – but a warmth and humour that is obvious when seeing him in person.
And from the Green Party caucus, this lovely snapshot. They deserve thepride they were feeling in being part of a movement to collect nearly 400,000 signatures,
John Key’s casual dismissal of the petition, and the nearly 400,000 New Zealanders who signed it, was not a “good look”. It spoke volumes of Key’s persona; his arrogance; and his pettiness.
He could just as easily have accepted the petition as part of the democratic process and congratulated New Zealanders for participating. It would have made him look statesmanlike; stand above petty politics; and increased his mana.
Being derisive; suggesting that the signatures were from “children and tourists”; was offensive.
It was unnecessary and uncalled for.
It was childish.
It publicly revealed John Key’s innermost insecurities – as he knows that the people are not with him on this issue. It must be a debilitating, depressing feeling, knowing that three million New Zealanders are angrily opposed to what Key and his cronies are up to.
“Where is the love”, he may well ask?
“Where is the respect”, we ask him.
An open message to John Key…
The Prime Minister insists he has a “mandate” to part-privatise our state assets.
I disagree. More people voted for Parties opposing state asset sales than voted for Parties endorsing said sales.
John Key has a one seat “majority”, due in part to manipulations during the 2011 election, and MMP rules that prevented some Parties from gaining representation in the House. For example, the Conservative Party won twice as many votes as ACT – but gained no seats. (see: Mandates & Majorities)
That’s not a mandate, Mr Prime Minister – that’s an accident of circumstances.
Mr Key – if you truly insist that you have a mandate, then put it to the test. Hold off on the sharefloat for Mighty River Power. Let the people have their say in a referendum.
I, for one, will accept the verdict of a referendum, whatever the outcome. If the majority – even the slimmest margin over 50% – support your asset sale programme, you’ll not hear one more word from me on this issue ever again.
Are you willing to put your “mandate” to the test, Mr Prime Minister?
Are you willing to listen to, and abide by, the will of the People?
Dominion Post: Government to ignore asset sales referendum
NZ Herald: Asset sales petition arrives at Parliament
Newstalk ZB: Opposition MPs greet anti-asset sales petition
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