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Posts Tagged ‘Aotearoa is not for sale’

27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Rua)

28 April 2013 14 comments

Continued from: 27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Tahi)

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NZ, Wellington, 27 April – Under a clear, sunny sky and only a slight breeze,  the march pushed off  at around 2.45pm, with a police escort;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Following the police vehicle, the lead marchers, proudly grasping a message aimed at all National ministers;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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The marchers were in good spirit – knowing that they were on the side of the angels on this issue;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Labour and Mana  standing side by side. A portent of things to come after the 2014 election? (Or earlier, if this rotten government collapses, or Key has a Muldoon-“moment” and calls for a snap election.)

If the sale of Mighty River Power goes badly for the thieving Nats; or Ohariu MP, Peter Dunne realises that the government he is a part of is on a hiding to nowhere,  a snap election may be on the cards.

We can only hope/pray…

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Lots of smiling faces; lots of hope and optimism for the future of this country;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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A bit of humour from one of the protesters;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Aside from a couple of clowns who thought they were being clever (see dickhead on the left), we received good support from by-standers. Several joined the protest march – note the lady in the pink jersey on the right, who stepped off the footpath, and walked with us;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Bringing up the rear of the protest march;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Where there were smart-arses yelling desparaging comments, they were generally inarticulate boofheads. These four young ‘gentlemen’ yelled abuse, and in the process showed us the calibre of  right wing fools. No doubt they’ll become typical National Party (or ACT, if it survives) politicians;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Ngarie had so much energy, as she took part in the chants and had some highly critical comments of her own to shout. People were left in no doubt what she thought of National and our illustrious Dear Leader;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Near the end of the march; these guys may be at the bottom of the socio-economic heap, but they had a huge amount of positive, good nature and were staunch in their condemnation of National’s thieving of our state assets. When the poorest of the poor are politicised, the end is nigh for  neo-liberals and their fellow-travellers;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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The march eveventually wound it’s way up the entrance-way to Parliament. Note the senior citizens leading the way!

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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By the time the protesters had reached the Parliamentary fore-court, their numbers had swelled to around 500-700 (estimated);

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Some street theatre by Aroha Priest, giving us a glimpse of a chilling  future, where poverty has increased and homeless  street-life is the  ‘norm’;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Howard Phillips – Vice President of the Rail, Transport and Maritime Union – gave a rousing speech to the crowd, reminding us how many thousands of jobs had been lost over the last four years;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Peter Hicks – Tasmanian singer-song writer – and Marama Te Kira – local performer/songwriter  – entertained the crowd with good music, assisted by an excellent sound-system.

A fine sunny day; good music; and “giving the fingers” to the Nats – what could be a better day?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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And Marilyn Head – from the NZ Nurses Organisation – expressed an excellent appraisal of how the s TPPA – currently being negotiated in secret –  will affect this country’s economic sovereignty.  Marilyn pointed out that, in the past, we were able to re-nationalise stressed  former-SOEs (KiwiRail and Air New Zealand).

Marilyn pointed out that the TPPA would no longer allow a New Zealand government the option of bailing out and re-nationalising a stressed ex-SOE (eg; Mighty River Power) and would tie it’s hands considerably. She raised the issue of trans-nationals suing our government; the loss of PHARMAC’s effectiveness; and secret overseas tribunals deciding disputes between coroporations and governments.

Marilyn said that the Australian government had refused to be a party to permitting corporations to sue them in  Investor-Government disputes – but that National was prepared to sign up to that accord.

Held in secret tribunals, it puts New Zealand in a very dangerous position. More foolishness from National.

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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And meanwhile, lurking in the background, was this character.  Perhaps waiting for the death of our economic sovereignty?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Not if we don’t let it happen.

Aotearoa – it’s NOT for sale!

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Tahi)

27 April 2013 19 comments

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NZ, Wellington, 27 April – On a crisp, summery day, citizens of Wellington (and some from further afield), began to assemble at Te Aro (“Pigeon”) Park, in Manners Street, to send (another) message to National ministers: Aotearoa is not for sale!

TV1 cameraman, with Police and protest organisers, together planning the march route and other  measures to keep people safe during the event. There was excellent co-operation between both parties. ANFS has a solid record for peaceful, non-violent, law-abiding protest;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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From about 2pm, the crowd quickly swelled from a few dozen, to several hundred. Ages ranged from young children, to the elderly.  It was interesting to note that over half the assembled people were in their 20s or 30s.

The issue of state assets belonging to the people, has become an inter-generational matter of concern and deeply-held beliefs;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Question. Will all our assets be gone – flogged off to investors from Beijing, Berlin, or Boston – by the time this young fellow grows up?  Will he be a tenant-worker in his own country – a country that was sold out from under his feet by venal, ignorant  politicians and a distracted middle-class?

Answer? Not if we have anything to say about it!

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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From the young, to the older. This is an issue that cuts across generations, race, gender, class, etc;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Some good sounds from the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Good representation from the young people of the Mana Party;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Plenty of good humour evident amongst the protest group. I wonder if Dear Leader would like this piece of art?Perhaps for a small sum donated to a worthy charity?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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ANFS (Aotearoa Not For Sale) organiser, Ariana, addressing the crowd,

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Young New Zealanders who want what we took for granted as children ourselves; clean rivers and clean seas. Is this too much to ask from a consumerist generation?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Simple messages on home-made placards;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Once Key and his cronies sell of our assets, what will be left for this young lady? And will she and her young generation curse us for letting it happen?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Another simple, home-made message from a New Zealander to the government;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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A young socialist in the making? The struggle does not end here, nor will neo-liberalism triumph. Not whilst the young continue to bear the banner;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Another view of the crowd, listening to ANFS co-organiser, Francis, barely visible in the background (holding bullhorn);

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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I think a good number of people in this country would agree with these messages;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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A good message – and one all governments  should  consider;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Three staunch MANA Party supporters. Note the message on the placard. Aside from simple-minded Tory supporters, who really believes that power prices will fall, once Mighty River Power, Meridian, and Genesis are partially-privatised?

Will investors really settle for a drop in returns on their share investments? Yeah, right, of course they will… *pfffft!!*

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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A very clear message. This banner will lead the march;

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Valerie, addressing the crowd about the protocols of the march,

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Two cars  painted to promote the day of action. Using corporate-style vehicle-advertising – how cool is that?

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27 April 2013 anti-asset sale protest Wellington aotearoa is not for sale

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Continued at: 27 April in Wellington – A Protest Against State Asset Theft (Part Rua) – Where the march heads for Parliament grounds!

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part toru)

17 February 2013 3 comments

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Continued from:

 

Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part rua)

 

NZ, Wellington, 13 February 2013 – At this point, there was some light entertainment – firstly from this chap,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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“John Key” – first tried to convince the crowd that he’s really a “nice guy”.  The response from the crowd was anything but ‘understanding’.

“John Key” then sang his now-famous version of the New Zealand anthem, which he said was now “partially privatised” – so minus every third or fourth word. Thwe song made bugger-all sense – much like asset sales themselves.

The anthem was missing the last line, which he said, had been “sold in it’s entirety, including the word ‘New Zealand’.

After “John Key” was ‘helped’ off the stage with accompanying boos and cat-calls, Energy campaigner, Molly Melhuish took the microphone.

Ms Melhuish spoke for Greypower. Like Geoff Bertram, she is also deeply knowledgeable about all facets of the energy industry, including pricing systems used for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

As always, listeners leave a talk by Ms Melhuish with a greater knowledge and insights into the electricity industry in our country,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Ms Melhuish first explained a bit of the background of the  “Keep our Assets” campaign,

“… Greypower was essentially asked to front this campaign, and we said at the first strategic meeting of the ‘Keep our Assets’ campaign that we wanted to co-front it with the youth, so we found a youth group, it was the University Students Association.

Because we believe this campaign is about those older people. Surprisingly many of our members were involved in building those assets. We said they’re ours, we want to keep them.

But we speak to our grand-children and our grand-children recognise… they just don’t want them sold. So the Greypower group board as a group, supported this ‘Keep our Assets’ campaign, all seven zones.

There are a small number of individuals in our meetings who really believed John Key when he said ‘we have to sell the assets so we can  re-pay the debts’. Geoff [Bertram] told you how wrong that is, but people are conservative,  want to be safe, and many, or most of the people who still say ‘we have to sell the asssets’ do so because they believed [John Key]. John Key is a show pony, he’s… telling the story told to him by others. He’s  a used car salesman. Would you buy a used car off that guy? I wouldn’t.”

“…Just yesterday afternoon, I spoke to Mana Tawa… The very very first question I asked was ‘Why can’t we have solar power on our houses? Our family in the U.K., you know, they got money to put photo-voltaics [on our roofs] and they were able to pay it off on our power bills. She said, ‘Why can’t we have that?”

We could, but we have to vote for it.

We won’t under this administration.

Another one  said, when I bought my place in a retuirement village in Porirua, we were promised lower bills. We are now paying more for our little retirement village than I paid for a four bedroom house.

So you get a captive consumer and they  can hike power bills not twice, but four times!

Greypower now has a policy that says energy leglislation must say [that] all household energy and especially electricity must be provided in a manner that’s fair, sustainable, efficient, and reliable. That was the law in 2001- Labour changed the law to make that. [But] National government took away “fair and sustainable” [from legislation]. That is wrong.

What to do about it? Change the government!

The only way you will get a change is to change the government! Vote for it! Peter Love told you that  in the first speech; vote for change. Greypower sez vote for change. That’s your job – We Greypower can support it but it is your job to vote for change.”

And she’s right. The only way we can effect change is by the ballot in the Voting Booth. Deciding not to vote because of some half-arsed cliche about “all politicians being the same”  is defeatist garbage. It is  craven surrender to forces who welcome people giving away their vote because vested interests have persuaded you that “change is not possible”.

Change is possible. But not when cynicism guides your decisions.

Molly Melhuish was followed by Aotearoa Not For Sale activist, Frances, who spoke of her own ‘journey’ to  set aside her apathy and become active. Despite English being a second language from Frances, her words were truly inspiring. A million New Zealanders like her, and no government would dare risk selling our treasures,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Frances first described the desperate conditions that afflict the poor or unemployed in other countries, where social welfare services barely exist, or not at all. She referred to the shame of someone loosing their job, and killing themselves and their entire family by mass-suicide – because the provisions that we often take for granted (or that right-wingers complain about), do not exist in their society.

“…I saw this country as a country so beautiful and with a humanity and the government with a heart [?] to looking after the poor and the under-privileged and  the vulnerable groups. But throught the years I don’t know what has happened, I was too busy looking after kids, young children, and being someone who didn’t speak very good english. I sort of stayed low and keeped quiet and don’t want to say much about nothing against   government. Although I do complain a lot at home if I say something, I see the government doesn’t do something nice to people.

But then I accidently walked through a public meeting … beginning of last  year and then that was about state asset sale. And I was so shocked about what ‘s going to happen. And I thought, well,  for the last 15 years my shower time from … ten minutes down to three minutes, because we need to have a budget for our power because the power bill kept going up.And then I cut my hair short so I don’t have to spend so much time [in the shower]. So all these things, and  I decided maybe this year I will not harass my kids to have a showers if they don’t want to because it’s just getting more and more expensive.

There might be more stinky people around the city.

And hey, we are from middle income family, and during the winter time we fight often … argue with my husband about whether we should have the heater on. And I just never thought  will  come to this day!

And now they’re going to privatise these companies and  sell to all those rich, only going to benefit the very rich few. Especially some foreign companies. And I was like,  that’s not right, I can’t afford to pay even higher bills.”

And I thought, what happened? … From me not paying attention to politics. I actually don’t like politics. I  want to just appreciate art and literature, but then from me not doing anything for so many years, what has this country become? Because a lot of people are like like me, they don’t like politics. They don’t want to take action; “I often give them moral support, I’ll  give you some  dollars, but you do the work. You go against the government.”

But then this time I realised what example I was setting for my children…

… But I feel great because I work with so many dedicated people and so many beautiful people, and  selfless. And they are wonderful. We are all trying to make this country a better place for us, for others,  for our children.

And for middle income like us, we struggle, and I just hate to think how the low income, how the  beneficiary actually survive. And this government keep taking things away from the general  public, from the  weaker and from the vulnerable group. …

… Being a housewife, what can I do? I go out to collect signatures because that’s  easy thing for me to do. It takes a lot and time and a lot of effort, but I’m glad I can make  contribution. And I feel everybody here can make contribution…

… And being at home I can teach my kids, say, well don’t believe everything you heard from the media. And don’t just listen to what people say, you watch what they do. Especially our Prime Minister.

Frances finished with these thoughts,

“We can all make a difference… I saw so many people on the street. Some  are angry but most  of them are so depressed because they think government will never listen, and they think what we are doing going to be  in vain, just not going to change anything.  And I say to them, I say, if you don’t make any noise for this, what do you think government are going do to us next?

I want to set  example to my children to say, if you really believe, and you have to believe, you can make a difference, you can change something. You just take actions and do whatever you can….

… But  we have to still have to pressure the government, we want our referendum now, not later!

… One day when my kids ask me ‘mum have you done anything to protect us from being attacked by our government’ then I can say, I have done something. And I hope we can all say that, say  we have done something to protect you from bad government policies.”

Amen to that, Frances.

Frances struggled at times with the English language  – but the message she gave was as clear and meaningful as words could possibly convey.

This blogger found her to be truly inspirational.

As clouds darkened the evening sky, and the southerly ‘breeze’ gave a ‘bite’ to the assembled crowd, there was final entertainment from Steve and  John,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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And finally, a rousing applause given to Richard, who shouldered much of the responsibility in organising the event,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Meanwhile, further down the waterfront, others were more comfortable with their boutique beers and frothy lattes,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Want to help?

Make a donation (any size) to: BNZ, 02-0560-0158770-00

Volunteer by contacting: saynotoassetsales@gmail.com

Go to: any of the Relevant orgs listed below.

Additional

TV3: Asset sales referendum likely (6 Feb 2013)

TV3: Govt under fire over Contact redundancies (14 Feb 2013)

NBR: Supreme Court to ignore govt deadline on water rights decision (15 Feb 2013)

Youtube: Say No to Asset sales in Aotearoa NZ.mov

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Relevant orgs

It’s Our Future

Keep our Assets

Aotearoa is not for Sale

Aotearoa is Not for Sale | Facebook

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Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part rua)

17 February 2013 7 comments

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SOEs

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Continued from:

 

Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part tahi)

 

NZ, Wellington, 13 February 2013 – The first speaker was Peter Love; Te Atiawa, and Board Member of the Wellington Tenths Trust,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Peter Love spoke of having to buy a bottle of water from the dairy – and yet Maori were castigated for trying to assert their own water rights. Holding up a plastic bottle of water, he said it’s not about “Maori owning the water”,

We have to make sure you don’t have to go into a dairy to buy this!

He spoke of countries such as China sending their workers into Pacific Island nations to build infra-structure and buildings for the locals, but for a price.  Peter Love spoke of powerful interests  seeking valuable resources  such as the fish in Cook Islands territorial waters.

He said asset sales would be a magnet for overseas investors,

They’re after our assets!”

Which is why“, he said, “we’re all here this evening challenging the government.”

Peter Love finished with a humorous touch,

My wife said, ‘hullo – don’t get arrested Peter...”

He encouraged the crowd,

“…Don’t forget, keep it up. Sign the petition against it. And we may have to call you again to go to Parliament.”

The next speaker was Peter Love’s mokopuna (grandchild), Kaira Ranginui-Love, of Te Atiawa, who spoke directly to the many young people in the crowd,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Ms Ranginui-Love spoke with deep passion about her feelings for this country, and how others wanted a piece of our paradise,

I love Aotearoa! I don’t know about you but I absolutely love this country. I believe Aotearoa is Heaven on Earth…

… For many of you, Aotearoa has been a home for you and your families since the time of the settlers, and for others.”
 
“… But regardless of how we all got here and what we’re all doing here, I think we can all agree  what connects us is our love for Aotearoa.”

“We are very lucky to live here. We have the oceans, the rivers, the forests, the lands,  and all that dwell therein. So we must look after our country, and be the caretakers, for now and for the future generations to come. We need to be wary that we don’t allow our country to be exploited by those in a position of power. The National government, the National Party, they have an immoral agenda based on monetary gain only…”

“…Is this government listening to our views?”

“I think this govermnment blatantly  ignores it’s people and what they want. What we all want. No thought has gone into the rippling effect that this will have on our futures.”

“…We’ll have no say, and we’ll  have no rights. This referendum will help to stop the government from making a terrible mistake. Remember, everybody wants a slice of our country, our paradise. So it is time to stand up. It is time to fight for this generation and the generations to come….”

“…The time to act is now, before it’s too late.”

Next, the Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown – a veteran campaigner against the privatisation of Wellington’s former “Capital Power” company in the 1990s – spoke of her thoughts on selling strategic assets that belong to the people,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Mayor Wade-Brown welcomed people to the rally and acknowledged the hard work by organisors to set up the rally,

Let’s give the organisors a big round of applause!”

This week there’ve been a number of really important issues raised that resonate with all of us; leadership; jobs; a fair go; and a clean environment; public ownership of strategic assets. Those aren’t alternatives to each other, they go hand in hand.”

The Mayor spoke of Deborah Littman visiting Wellington and talking to Council (see: Mayor pushes to give hundreds a pay increase ) about how a living wage has in helped  many aspects of society in Vancouver and London, by raising incomes,

Low pay doesn’t help the local economy; low pay doesn’t educational failure, and low pay doesn’t help poor health. So the living wage is an idea to inspire us, it’s a journey, not an overnight transformation… … a living wage is good for the local economy.”

Mr Wade Brown referred to a Greenpeace economic report which outlined ambitious ideas for new jobs, new prosperity, and a clean economy. She outlined Greenpeace’s ideas for how huge wealth could be created for New Zealand by building an economy based on 100% renewable energy,  energy efficiency, and sustainable transport.

The mayor went on to describe one of her earliest actions soon after being elected to the City Council in 1994,

I voted in one of the earliest political decisions when I was elected on Council against the sale of Capital Power. And now the energy retail and lines businesses have been split up and sold and sold again  and it’s really impossible to assess what they would  be worth now.

But it could’ve been a huge help to the capital city as a basis for a smart grid, for electricity demand management, and for more manageble bills for people on low incomes. So I understand your concerns about selling of power generation companies.

More successfully, Wellington City Council voted against the sale of our Airport shares. Although one third does not give us control. But it does keep us in the loop and it gives us a considerable dividend that keeps your rates down.

And in the ’90s there were really truly mutterings –  I saw Cr Stephanie Cook here earlier and she’ll back this up – there were muttering about selling of our council social housing. It never did get to a vote, thank goodness... “

Social housing for vulnerable tenants was a social partnership, she said.

Mayor Wade-Brown then described Wellington’s water supply and categorically stated,

The basic public infrastructure should remain in public ownership and the charging policies and the conservation policies should be set democratically.”

She took a good natured ‘dig’ at Peter Love with the remark,

And I would like to add that you don’t need to buy in bottles because there are free water fountains along the waterfront.

Ms Wade-Brown told the audience that Council, in partnership with local Iwi, was bringing back alienated land to return to the Town Belt.

The Mayor added,

So local government faces the same financial pressures as households do, as you do,  as business does, and as central government does. But we’re not going to face those pressures by selling of our strategic assets. We won’t sell social housing, we won’t sell water infrastructure, we won’t sell the reserves that make this capital city so special.”

The mayor implored people to sign the petition – but not ten times,

It doesn’t help to sign it ten times, ok guys? If you’ve signed it, you’ve signed it…
… And tonight people are tweeting, blogging, using Youtube, and everything else to have your say. And that’s my main message; stand up and have your say, in the capital city!

Kia kaha.”

Next up – perhaps the country’s sanest, most common-sense economist – Ganesh Nana, rose to tell it from an economist’s  perspective.

Perhaps surprisingly, he wasn’t tied up and thrown into the harbour. Economists in the last thirty years have had a bad rep – perhaps only second to certain policians.

But Ganesh Nana is a rare breed of economist. He sees through the neo-liberal fantasy world of ideology and tells us that the dogma of the New Right simply does not work as ‘the label on the can’ promised,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Ganesh Nana started by saying,

I’m an economist, ok, so I promise not to say anything about ‘The Phoenix’ or anything about cats…”

That elicited a laugh from the crowd and then he launched straight into the issue of asset sales and started by asking,

You might ask why would you at all be interested in hearing from an economist, and I ask the same thing; “why is anybody  interested in hearing from an economist given whate total mess we’ve made of the economy to date, but never mind… You guys should really be asking for an apology from the economists given the mess we’ve made...”

“… But I will apologise on my own behalf for not not actually shouting out a lot louder evertime we’ve made a wrong turn. So today here I am shouting out just a bit louder for making a wrong turn yet again.”

The audience warmed quickly to Ganesh Nana’s self-deprecating comments and clapped at his remarks. Only a lone heckler, yelling out comments he must’ve thought were very hilariously witty (mistakenly),  stood apart from the crowd.

Ganesh Nana continued,

From a business perspective; a business person’s perspective;  this is a very, very, very,  simple problem facing us, or a simple question; why would you sell an asset?

I ask you that question and from my own academic perspective or background, when faced with that question  I go to a dictionary and look up the definition of an asset.

It’s really quite simple… … you’ll find some words around something that is valuable and of use. And then I started to think as a business person or as an ordinary person why would I get rid of something that is valuable and of  use?”

He then asked,

“…These assets that the Crown have, [that] the government on our behalf, [as] taxpayers, are holding. Do they continue to be valuable and useful?

And if so why are we getting rid of them?”

… From a business perspective the only reason I’d get of an asset is if it suddenly became a liability.

That is, it required a lot of upkeep and it wasn’t paying it’s way, so it wasn’t really an asset. And then, yes,  you get rid of it fast.

But is anybody seriously trying to tell me that those electricity generation stations, and all the infra-structure around it,  is something that we, as a nation, ‘ain’t gonna’ need for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years?

Because if the answer to that is ‘yes’, then let’s get rid of it, because we don’t need it. But if we do need them, we need to hold onto them. It’s really quite that simple.”

Ganesh Nana was also adamant that not all economists follow the neo-liberal, monetarist line,

“…People who think that businesses or economists totally agree with getting rid of assets or following the market path, and there are lots of other reasons we could go into which are far too technical to go into tonight, about following the market and about how government shouldn’t be involved in assets; and shouldn’t be involved in the economy – those are smokescreens.

There are quite surprisingly some economists, myself included, who don’t follow that [ideology], and actually go back to the textbook… If it’s an asset, and it’s going to earn something over the future, you hold onto it for dear life. Because that’s what your future relies on!”

Ganesh Nana’s speech was well-received by the crowd. One could sense  that it was a relief for many who were listening,  that not all economists were wide-eyed free-marketeers demanding the dismantling of the State.

Ganesh Nana was followed by Geoff Bertram, Senior Economics lecturer at  Wellington’s Victoria University, and one who had been closely studying the energy sector. Mr Bertram understands the mechanisms by which our energy companies are valued and re-valued – and his simple explanations quickly reveal these valuations as clever, malevolent, rorts.

The same rorts used to drive up power prices on an almost annual basis,

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Now, the government’s aiming to sell off nearly half of some state-owned companies worth about ten billion [dollars], so it’s hoping to get a bit about under half… perhaps $4.5 billion from the sales from anybody prepared to buy the shares that they’re going to issue.

I’m going to talk tonight really about the motivation  that might lie behind those sales, and I personally think it boils down to two things.

The first is the desire of  the Treasury to get the money and run before certain things become very apparent about the way that electricity prices have been set over the last two decades.

And the second reason I think is to close off policy options that might remain open to future governments if the assets remain in full public ownership. Because while the assets are in full public ownership, it is possible to change the way they are managed and change the way that  electricity is supplied…”

Geoff Bertram then made an explosive accusation against the government which, if true, revealed a shocking reason why National is so hell-bent on privatisation of certain state assets,

“… It’s my view that probably the  most important political consequence of the part-privatisation of SOEs is to place private investors in those enterprises  and thereby immunise them against possible future policy that might reduce their value.

And since  I think an important part of an improved government policy would indeed reduce their value, I am opposed to the asset sales…

…The companies have a very high valuation. The reason why they have a very high valuation  is that they have successfully participated in a long-running rort to extract cash from residential electricity consumers by the inexorable driving up of prices of electricity.

That rort, has been possible, because government policy has allowed and has indeed supported the emergeance of a cartel of five, large, vertically-integrated, generator-retailers – three of whom are SOEs  – which have been able to operate without any effective regulation, at the expense of  consumers who were too vulnerable to protect their interests against price hikes.

And if you looked at the tracks of electricity prices over the last 20, 30 years you will have noticed that large industry has protected itself very successfully; commercial electricity buyers have done fine; residential who are the dis-organised, unrepresented, undefended, captive group of customers have seen their prices go up in real terms 100% since 1986.

And the main consequence of the electricity reforms has indeed been that doubling of the cost of electricity to ordinary  households. 

That’s a major cause of energy poverty; it’s been an important part in the growing  inequality of income and wealth in this country; and it’s something that a socially responsible government would,  in my view,  be taking serious action to reverse.”

The audience broke into heavy applause as the implications of Geoff Bertram’s comments sank in.

It is simply extraordinary that none of the media present at the rally that day has reported Geoff Bertram’s amazing – and disturbing – analysis of the energy sector and electricity pricing in New Zealand. Is what he’s saying boring?! Too complicated?! Risking opening a can of worms?!

This should be a prime-time story on TV3’s “Campbell Live” and Radio New Zealand.

Geoff Bertram continued,

“Just to put that doubling of the residential price in context. New Zealand’s pretty much on it’s own in the OECD and if you look at  the figures for other countries around the OECD, from 1986 to the present, the price of electricity to residential consumers  in OECD Europe, in Australia, and in the United Kingdom, is still the same as it was in 1986. In the United States, Japan, and France, prices are down 25% , compared to where they were in 1986, in real terms.  In South Korea they’re down 50%, compared to where they were in 1986.

New Zealand is the only only OECD country that has gone out there and driven up electricity prices 50%. We’re also pretty much the only country that doesn’t have a regulator in place, and where government doesn’t have any particular social policy relating to the pricing of essential services to the public.”

Geoff Bertram then explained what he called “the re-valuation game”, as it applied to electricity pricing in New Zealand,

And here’s how it works.

You take a bunch of assets with a given value, and you look at the existing price, to consumers of the product, and you say “well look, we can get the price up”; so you project  that higher price; you capitalise that; and then if you can get the price up the asset will be worth more; so then you re-value the asset; and then you go and use the higher value of the asset to justify raising the prices, and then you repeat.

And this is the circular process which has been going on in New Zealand now, in electricity, for more than a decade. It is completely legal under New Zealand law.

It is not illegal to profiteer or  to gauge captive customers in this country. [In] very few countries is that true.

And it’s consistant with New Zealand’s generally accepted accounting practice which basically tells you that there’s a rotteness at the core of accounting practices in this country.”

Geoff Betram further described how the ECNZ had sold power stations to the newly formed Mighty River Power, in 1999, at a considerable mark-up. In effect  government sold these power stations to itself and in the process pocketed a huge profit. To pay for those power stations, prices were raised, forcing captive residential consumers to pay more and more for their electricity. He added that we have been,

“…living under a government which for two decades has  become effectively  a corporate predator, in this sector, where once it used to be a social provider.

The applause that followed that statement was louder than before. People were ‘getting’ what Geoff Bertram was telling them. He continued,

Here’s the problem. Electricity was once an essential service provided to households at the lowest price, consistent with covering the industry’s costs. 

Since 1986 the sector has been corporatised and part-privatised, and it’s pricing has been driven by the quest for profit by giant companies that have the market power to gouge their consumers.

As the owner of three of those companies, the New Zealand government has therefore become a predator. And now the Treasury wants to cash in on that rort by selling out half the government’s stake.

What that means in terms of the options for the future for government to turn around and come back from the predator model and return to a social service approach  for energy supply, is being closed off.”

Geoff Bertram suggested that every household in New Zealand could be allocated 300kwh [kilowatt hours] of free power every month, and pay market rates for anything over and over used. He added,

But if you want to deal with energy poverty and get kids out of hospitals with asthma and other respiratory diseases and so on, one of the really good  things that you can do is get cheap energy into New Zealand households and that would be sustainable on the basis of the current government owned assets.

About 300 kwh free. [But if] you sell Mighty River and what’s feasible comes down to 200 [kwh]. You sell Genesis and what’s feasible comes down to 100 [kwh]. You sell Meridian and it’s gone…

What I’m saying is the contract  that supplies the Rio Tinto smelter down at Bluff, the old Comalco contract, is the contract New  Zealand households should have had from the start.

And it still could be done.”

Imagine, every household in the country, receiving a dividend of 300 kwh, each month. The positive benefits for low-income families, in damp, drafty houses, would be incalculable. Coupled with providing free meals in schools for children, it would be a major blow against child poverty in New Zealand.

But not if National get’s it’s way.

A new Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana coalition government must listen to people like Geoff Bertram, Ganesh Nana, et al, if we are to progress forward.

After Geoff Bertram, the crowd was entertained by Maarama Te Kira and Lucky Ngatuere,

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Following on from the entertainment, Jane Kelsey, Law Professor from Auckland University, addressed the Rally. Professor Kelsey is also one of the country’s acknowledged experts on globalisation, and a staunch critic of the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement), which is being negotiated in secrecy and condemned worldwide.

Professor Kelsey has also been the target of some fairly vindictive statements from the NZ Herald (see: Gordon Campbell on the NZ Herald’s attack on Jane Kelsey).

Professor Kelsey started by welcoming old friends to the rally,

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“…It was great to see lots of familiar faces from battles of the past, but it was also great to see so many young people here, because these battles are your battles for the future…

… I congratulate not only the organisor here, but  those who have been running the campaign  in Wellington gainst the asset sales, because it’s been a real inspiration across the country, and I know it’s being watched by people outside the country as well.

Some of those who are here will remember those battles we had in the mid 1980s when we were told that state-owned enterprises were simply a way of creating more efficient ways of keeping assets in  our hands. And we said at the time that it was a lie. And we knew it was a lie and they knew it was a lie. And we proved it was a lie and then they sold them off and then we had to buy them back.

Because as we predicted would happen, when you have private owners, especially private foreign owners, who have no stakes in our future, they will strip the assets. And thats what Bell-Atlantic and Ameritech did with Telecom and that’s what Wisconson Railways  did with the railways, and that’s what the [foreign ]banks that still own our banks, did with the Post Office Savings Bank and the BNZ and the Rural Bank, and so on, and we’ve been there and done that and we know what it means.”

At this point, Professor Kelsey held up a metre-square white board with heavy black lettering on it; ‘SAY NO’. It was a take on Winston Peter’s ‘NO’ sign from the Owen Glenn Donations affair in 2008. (see: Peters denies latest Owen Glenn allegations)  The placard provoked laughter from the crowd who obviously recalled the significance of it.

” They also know that the problem [for the neo-liberals] was that we were able to reverse some of those failed privatisations, and other things that failed. Like when they tried to privatise ACC. Like when they tried to de-regulate the electricity market. … So what they have is a new strategy designed to lock-in and make potentially irreversible the kinds of policies that they want to see rule in the interests of their cronies for the indefinite future.
These particularly  toxic legal products are known as Free Trade and Investment Agreements but they have nothing to do with trade, they’re actually investment protection agreements that make it almost almost impossible for us to be able to do the kinds of reversals of failed privatisations we’ve done in the past. We have a number of those agreements already.

And they are potentially causing some problems.
Some of you will have followed what’s happening with the tobacco companies, and their threats to sue over the introduction of plain-packaging tobacco. What we have now now is a particularly virulent strand of this this toxic disease. It’s known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, or the TPPA. We have other ways of describing the TPPA – Taking People’s Power Away. Toxic Profiteers Plundering Aotearoa.
What it’s designed to do, in particular in relation to investment, is to say ‘You have to open your doors without restrictions to the rights of foreign investors to be able to buy any of the assets within Aotearoa’.
Now, we already have an open door,  and they’ve already signed away the ability to reverse some of that.

But now they want to raise the thresholds even further, so that our ability to vet foreign owners is effectively taken out of our hands. But worse than that, once the foreign investors own the assets, these agreements give special guarantees to those foreign companies. They give guarantees that we will  not alter our future laws and policies in ways that significantly affect the value or the profitability of their investments.
So once we have – or they have – given away our assets, our ability to do anything to recover them is not only constrained by the kinds of threats that we’ve seen in the past and concerns about ‘crisis’ and ‘investor confidence’ and all of that other bullshit – we have threats from foreign investors under an agreement like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, that they will sue our government not only for the loss of the value of their assets but the for the loss of future profits from those assets.
…It will not be a case that will be brought in our domestic Court. It is a case that will be brought in a secret, off-shore tribunal, where there will be three Arbitrators who would sit on the Hearing who last week were acting for an investor, and this week are acting as a judge in the cases brought before them by an investor. There is no system of  precedent, there is no openess so we can see the documents, or even sit in on the Hearings. There may not even be a publication of their judgement at the end of it!
These kinds of secret offshore tribunals are  so discredited now that many  governments are saying  they won’t agree to deals that allow foreign investors to have those powers.  And the Australians have said in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that they won’t agree to foreign investors having those powers.

Our government – when John Key was first asked about this – said, “Oh, well if the Australians don’t think it’s a good thing, it sounds a little bit off-beam to me, so I suppose we’d go where Australia goes”.

Then his officials officials briefed him and said, “Well, actually Prime Miniter, no, we’re going to agree  to foreign investors having these powers”.
So this Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is currently being negotiated. They want to try to close off the negotiations in October this year. The negotiations are all taking place in secret. We don’t get to see the final agreement until it’s signed off by the eleven countries negotiating it, which includes the US where the big foreign investors are based.
So, effectively the government is negotiating a Bill of Rights for foreign investors not only to enter and buy up this country, but to be able to threaten us in the future if we try to take back control of what is ours.”

Professor Kelsey invited the crowd to join in the campaign to oppose the TPPA, and pointed out information that was freely available on nearby tables. She warned the crowd,

“Join us in the campaign against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, because so many of the things that we care about – We will not be able to effectively regulate in the future; we will not be be able to take back control of our future; if this agreement is passed. Parliament doesn’t get  an effective say on it. This is an agreement negotiated by the  Cabinet, it can be ratified by the Cabinet; and we have no say until it is a done deal.
We know that the Prime Minister is very good at secret done deals. We know that the Prime Minister is happy to do deals on behalf of his cronies. We know that the Prime Minister is prepared to sell out democracy, sovereignty, and tino rangatiratanga. And if we’re going to take back control of our futures then this agreement is a priority to stop this year, along with the asset sales.”

Professor Keley thanked the audience, who in turn cheered and clapped for her.

Meanwhile, Shane and Ariana (?) held aloft the anti-TPPA banner,

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Next up, Bishop Justin Duckworth – the Anglican Bishop of Wellington. He had some very personal but salient anecdotes to share with us,

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Bishop Duckworth greeted the crowd and started with this story from his own family,

” I was sitting out before and listening to the speakers, who were awesome, and I was suddenly talking to a new friend, I met a new friend, and he was telling me he was a father like I was a father, and we were discussing our children, and I suddenly remember a story that happened between my wife and my teenage boy. Classic conversation went down about domestic chores. And my beautiful wife, Jenny was saying to my boy, “it’s your turn to do the dishes”.

And he sort of said, “No, I did the dishes last night”.

And then she said, “I vacuumed the floor.”

And then he said, “Well, I watered the garden.”

And then she said, “Well, I dropped you to school.”

And it was escalating. Until my wife finally busted what I thought was the argument to end all arguments. And she said this; “I gave birth to you.”

I thought;  that’s it. Argument stopped. How could you argue with that?

My teenage boy had this comeback, “And your generation destroyed the environment for us.”

Good line, eh?

And it’s true isn’t? It’s true that our generation not only did we destroy the global environment, but  we have also instigated the global recession as well. And I think that the issues that we are talking about today about asset sales; the reason why that this issue in particular hits our public so strongly, and we have such a good turnout to this rally, is that because I think it’s at the core of a whole lot of other issues.

And so, as a man of faith, as a follower of Jesus, I just want to tell you what concerns me. And these are questions I have, I haven’t got the answers, but these are just questions.

Around asset sales I have questions  around the lack of regulation already  in place in the assets that we own…

… I heard Geoff speak, and I also read his articles, the reports about his papers a couple of weeks ago.  I am concerned that that it is simply not fair, and not just …”

“If we were to sell our assets how less a control do we have? If we already have such limited control at the moment on the regulation of them, how much more limited will it be in the future?”

My second question I would have is this. Recognising… that the Kai Tiaki of New Zealand is Tangata Whenua’s Maori people, and the wairua of this country, the spirit of this country is held by that Kai Tiaki, by the Maori people. I would have questions around what happens if we start selling our assets overseas, what does that mean for the Kai Tiaki here?

“… Third question would follow on from the Greenpeace speaker [Bunny McDiarmid – no recording of her speech made; blogger’s stuff-up], and that woud be this; What happens to the environment longer term if we lose responsibility and control of our power companies? What guarantees do we have whether actually our environment and our global climate change issues will actually be positively addressed by our country? I think there are huge issues there if we choose to sell our assets.”

Bishop Duckworth then concluded with this sobering anecdote – something personal, yet with global implications in how we treat each other,

“…Those of you who don’t know, my father was born in Burma – in Myanmar. A few years ago I went back with him; never visited before, me and my brother went back to Burma. Took my dad, visited a whole lot of wider family.

Once we were on a temple tour, as you do on these sort of trips. We were touring around these temples, and me and my brother, having a lot of sibling rivalry, we’d constantly compete to see who could get the best bargain for the little knick-knacks. You know that I mean? Those little things you buy constantly. So me and my brother were constantly competing for who could get the best deal  on knick-knacks.

One night we were just finishing another temple tour and this guy sidled up to me and was selling me hand-painted pictures of Burmese countryside. Now I’ve been around long enought to know what you can normally get these pictures for.

Normally you pick these pictures up for about three US dollars.
But I was militant that night. And I thought I’m going to prove once and for all that I can run the biggest, best bargain in the world. So I drilled that fellow down to get the best  bargain I could. And in the end I managed to get four pictures for five US dollars!

…We were getting a lift home, and I was showing the pictures to my brother and saying, “Look, I’ve got the best bargain ever!”

And the driver of our horse and cart leant over and asked, “Hey, um, what’d you pay for those?”

I said, “I paid five US dollars for the four of them”.

He sez, “Ohhh, it must’ve been a bad day.”

I go, “What do you mean?”

“The man musn’t have been able to sell anything that day, so he had to sell his goods at cost price, at least at cost-price,  just to buy rice for his family.”

And suddenly I realised what was just some crazy game, ideological game, for me, was actually  life and death for other people.

And my big questions I have around this issue is this; is this some crazy ideological issue that we’ve been driven  here, or is it actually about everyday people who are struggling, who need jobs, who need security, who need a future, and who need decent power.

And that’s my question.”

Ariana then troduced Maanu Paul, Chairman of the Maori Council, and  who was currently taking the Government to the Supreme Court over water rights. Maanu Paul had some interesting observations, and made a call to action,

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Maanu Paul offered a greeting to the people at the rally, and then began with,

“When I was asked to come and speak, at this,  I asked, “who makes money out of this lot [asset sales] ‘?

And the answer was, we need to raise the consciousness of our nation in respect of our opposition to the sale of assets. The New Zealand Maori Council has had a long history of opposing the sale of our assets, beginning in 1986, when we established Section 9 of the State Owned Enterprises Act, which we said, “nothing in this Act shall be contrary to the Treaty of Waitangi”.

And then we had the lands case in 1987 when we stopped the sale of state owned land. And then we had a negotiation with the Crown over the sale of the biggest man-made forest in the southern hemisphere – the Kaingaroa Forest. And then they sold the spectra. And  we had an argument with the Crown over who owned the spectra. It’s about the same argumwent as who owns the water.

And the government of the day said, ‘Maori did not know anything about the spectra’. And I shot back to them, ‘Neither did they. An Italian  fellow named Marconi knew about it, and the Poms didn’t know anything about it at all’.

The upshot is that they allocated us a portion of the spectra and now we’re a part of Two Degrees.

Finally we come to the sale of the dams and the capacity to generate power. The whakapapa so far tells us that the constant that is present in all this is that the Maori Council has ensured that state owned assets stay in this country.”

There was strong applause at this point, and with a smile, Maanu Paul continued,

“Thank you. Because I’m going to ask you to put your hands in your pockets, because you owe us.”

More good natured laughter, and Maanu Paul’s smile widened, as the audience understood the nature of his remarks. He explained,

“You owe us because if we didn’t take this government to the Tribunal, to the High Court, and the Supreme Court, our assets would’ve been gone, would’ve been sold by now.

That is the reality of what we’re facing. And so the Council is dedicated to ensuring that we leave the world a better place for our mokopunas. We leave the world a better place that wehen we were born to it. And the world we were born to was, as far as I was concerned, I had the right to go and fish in my foreshore in my foreshore and seabed… heh heh heh…

I had the right to swim in my rivers and my lakes and call them my own. I had the right to do what I wanted with my land without having it confiscated.

And all of these tell me right now, that those rights have been eroded. Those rights have been eroded because this government, and previous governments, have failed to properly honour the Treaty of Waitangi.”

At this point, Maanu Paul called for direct action of a sort that up until now had not been considered. His comments have been reported in the media, and this is what he said, verbatim,

“And so my  message today, to us, is quite simply, is that we need to do more than sign a petition. We need to do more than gather in Frank Kitts Park, and what we need to do is to sit outside of Parliament and demand that we maintain the control of our assets.

What I’m suggesting – and I don’t know whether my Council’s going to agree with me about  this – but what I’m suggesting  is that we have a Noho Kainga [sitting] on Parliament grounds!

And we sit there until a fellow called Winston Peters might have put a Bill in Parliament that says ‘we are wishing to maintain ownership of the assets that we paid for in the taxes that’ve been levied upon us in the name of the public good’.

The audience resoponded enthusiastically to this suggestion, and the feeling was strong that many would’ve upped and left for Parliament’s ground at that very moment.

Maanu Paul continued,

“And the reason I’m saying this to you is that simply because there is no protection of your assets paid for by your taxes, which were levied upon you in the first place, in the name of the public good.

And we are the public and we should have a Nono Kainga to protect to protect our public good.”

Maanu Paul then sang a new “public anthem” to the crowd. This blogger can report that  his singing is something to behold – Maanu Paul has an awesome singing voice. Firstly his song was rendered in Maori, and then for the benefit of those who don’t yet know the language (including this blogger), in English,

‘I am the water, the water is me,

Cascading down,

from Ranginui,

Enveloping all,

The environment,

I am the water,

the water is me.’

Ariana asked the crowd,  “Yes, yes, yes! A sit down at Parliament – who’s up for it?

The response was shouted from the crowd loud and in affirmation.

A new people’s action may be in the offing… Stay tuned, folks. This ain’t over – not by a long shot. Or by John Key’s lamentable imagination.

A new chapter is unfolding.

Continued and concluded at:

Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part toru)

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Additional

TV3: Asset sales referendum likely (6 Feb 2013)

TV3: Govt under fire over Contact redundancies (14 Feb 2013)

NBR: Supreme Court to ignore govt deadline on water rights decision (15 Feb 2013)

Youtube: Say No to Asset sales in Aotearoa NZ.mov

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Relevant orgs

It’s Our Future

Keep our Assets

Aotearoa is not for Sale

Aotearoa is Not for Sale | Facebook

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= fs =

Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part tahi)

17 February 2013 6 comments

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SOEs

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NZ, Wellington, 13 February 2013 – Set against an overcast early evening sky, and a chilly southerly, several hundred Wellingtonians of all ages, races, political affiliations, and backgrounds came together at Frank Kitts Park, on Wellington’s waterfront,

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Their common unity of purpose was to oppose the partial sale of state-owned assets,

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Electricity-dustry expert, Molly Melhuish, with others from DEUN (Domestic Electricity Users Network). Ms Melhuish (center, holding white clipboard)  is  intimately familiar with the working of the electricity industry in this country and was a key member in   campaigns to oppose electricity privatisation in the 1990s – including Wellington’s Capital Power.

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The messages were simple, and to the point. From Labour,

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… to the Mana Party,

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The message for National  was clear – what’s ours is ours,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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This Wellingtonian understood the folly and false-economy of selling state assets which are money-making cash-cows. Right wing politicians know this – but their zealous obedience to neo-liberal dogma seems to over-ride any semblance of common-sense,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Many in the crowd were of an age to recall the sale of Telecom – something that was resisted by 93% of New Zealanders,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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Interestingly, at least one right-wing politician has belatedly realised that selling state assets was a mistake – see: Bolger: Telecom sale a mistake

Dedicated ANFS activist, Frances, had a very simple question for Dear Leader,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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ANFS activist, Athena, handing out leaflets to people in the crowd and discussing issues with them,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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With media filming the event, ANFS co-convenor, Ariana, opened the Rally with a welcome to the crowd and  an introduction of the speakers who had been invited to address the rally, with their thoughts on the sale of state assets,

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com aotearoa not for sale - 13 february 2013 - frank kitts park - wellington - anti asset sales

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The speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, and each gave their perspective on the issue of selling the people’s assets.

To be continued:

Wellingtonians rally to send a message to the Beehive! (part rua)

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Additional

TV3: Asset sales referendum likely (6 Feb 2013)

TV3: Govt under fire over Contact redundancies (14 Feb 2013)

NBR: Supreme Court to ignore govt deadline on water rights decision (15 Feb 2013)

Youtube: Say No to Asset sales in Aotearoa NZ.mov

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Relevant orgs

It’s Our Future

Keep our Assets

Aotearoa is not for Sale

Aotearoa is Not for Sale | Facebook

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Aotearoa Not For Sale – Big signature-gathering push in Kilbirnie, Wellington

25 November 2012 2 comments

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24 November, Wellington – Aotearoa is Not For Sale (ANFS), Wellington branch, took part in a nationwide push to gather more signatures for the petition,  calling for a referendum on state asset sales.

ANFS campaigners took to the streets of Kilbirnie, one of Wellington’s eastern-suburns, close to the airport.

Campaigners took up prime spots in Bay Rd – Kilbirnie’s main street – and outside Pak’n’Save, in the next street adjacent.

Phil, Shane, and Warwick, posing for the camera, before taking up positions around Pak’N’Save’s main doors,

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Ready to take up the challenge,

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A citizen only to happy to sign Warwick’s petition,

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This gentleman needed no encouragement to sign Phil’s petition and was not happy with National’s plans to partially-privatise assets that belong to us all,

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No sooner does one finish signing, and another person comes up to Warwick,

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Collecting more signatures in Bay Road, Kilbirnie’s “main drag”,

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All up, several hundred signatures were collected and several dozen electoral enrollent forms handed out. It was a good day for hittuing the streets.

One interesting thing that we found was that most people had already signed the petition. It seems the campaign is well supported by New Zealanders of all walks of life. (John Key – take note.)

Anyone wanting to download the petition can do so from here: http://keepourassets.org.nz/

If you  can’t print of a petition form, please email this blogger, and I will post out forms to you,

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Remember – every signature counts! (And make sure you are on the Electoral Roll – if you’re not on the Roll, your signature may be discounted.)

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Anti-asset sale Flash Occupation at Vodafone Building

31 October 2012 9 comments

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30 October, Wellington. Wellington’s Aotearoa is Not For Sale action group today mounted another in an on-going series of  “flash occupations” – this time at Forsyth Barr, in the  Vodafone Building in Lambton Quay, down-town Wellington.

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It was a beautiful sunny day when about a dozen members of ANFS met at Midland Park, in front of Vodaphone House,

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Debbie and Warwick, displaying the latest printed signs to be used in on-going campaigns,

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Activists  were all dressed in corporate-style clothing, to facilitate easier entry into company offices. (In the case of Clemenger BBDO, we were actually more stylishly dressed than the corporate staff!)

Warwick (on phone) and Richard, being photographed by Valerie,

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Journalist students from Whitirea Polytech (L-R), Alastair, Anthony, and Damon, interviewing Richard to explain the rationale for flash occupations.

They presented their story online, here: Flash occupation hits key asset sales players

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Lunchtime office workerswere treated to an impromptu public performance.

The group practised singing various songs, that had been amended to carry a protest message. The singing was not quite “New Zealand’s Got Talent” – but the songs were sung with enthusiasm and sincerity…

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A curious moment occurred when this chap was seen photographing the group, using the smartphone in his hand. One person suggested that he was a police photographer.

He seemed intent on taking his pics and then walking away. At no time did he  approach the group to discuss  issues relating to  the purpose of our activities…

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The protest group entered the Vodafone Building – only to be confronted by two security guards.

Whether they had been pre-warned of  our presence, or had spotted us ourside during our practice singing, they blocked further passage of the protest group,

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The smile on one of the security guards showed the laid-back, non-threatening nature of the protest. The ANFS group at all times maintained a peaceful, non-aggressive attitude.

Undeterred, and under surveillance by a camera (top right), the group set up a protest picket-line in the lobby of the building,

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One of the security guards, attempted to cajole the protest group to leave the foyer. Again, there was no aggro from either side,

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Having set up a picket line (to one side of the foyer, so as not to block other peoples’ ability to move with freedom to-and-from the building), the protestors began to sing a loud and clear message; asset sales were not wanted!

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Banner unfurled; signs held aloft; voices in full song – the group were getting their message across to the public,

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Office workers walking past the protest,

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Realising that this was a peaceful protest, the security guards stood back as the  group presented it’s anti-asset-sales message, and eventually wound up the action and left without incident.

Though entry to Forsyth Barr’s offices was not gained, the mere presence of the  Aotearoa is Not For Sale  group was sufficient to remind those within this edifice to corporate power, that this issue will not go away.

Aotearoa is not for sale. Not now, not ever.

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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A delay to asset sales – thank gods for Te Tiriti!

3 September 2012 2 comments

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John Key has said that “no one owns water”.  The inference being that water is collectively the property of all New Zealanders.

That’s a very socialist principle.

In which case, we should be asking  him; does the same apply to state owned enterprises? Maori certainly want to know the answer to this question.

The Waitangi Tribunal’s interim recommendation to National was to delay asset sales until the issue of water rights, share allocations, etc,  could be addressed, and good-faith negotiations undertaken.

Today was D-Day for National and it’s planned asset sales agenda,

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Full Story

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Basically, it had three options available to it;

  1. Ignore the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations to delay asset sales,  and Maori would head straight to Court for litigation. A High Court would most likely injunct National from proceeding with the sale.
  2. Voluntarily postpone asset sales and engage in good-faith negotiation with Maori,
  3. Legislate away any potential Maori water-rights – and the consequence would be a political upheaval similar to what Labour experienced over the Foreshore & Seabeds issue.

Option # 1 would mean little difference to Option #2; both would result in an inevitable delay.

At least Option #2 allowed a measure of good-faith bargaining and maintaining a reasonably relationship with the Maori Party.

Issue #3 was unthinkable. Aside from resulting in mass angry protest from Maori and losing it’s  Maori Party coalition partner,  the resultant social  instability would make the next two and half years a political nightmare for any government.

When Maori Council Co-chair, Maanu Paul, said,

This issue is such a big issue for Maoridom that we had to go all the way in terms of seeking redress and if that means going to the Supreme Court, that’s where we’ll end up.”

… he wasn’t making idle chit-chat. Maori are playing hard-ball on this issue and are not about to fold their hand. They have too many aces, and have little hesitation in playing them.

As it was, National blinked first,

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Full Story

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We now have breathing space until June next year.

In that time, opposition to asset sales will harden even further and come up with new strategies to fight National’s agenda.

National will have found that, bereft of allies, it’s privatisation agenda will not have become any easier. In fact, it may well face new challenges and barriers to it’s very unpopular policy.

One such  challenge is that it still has only a one-seat majority in the House.

John Key must be praying every night before going to bed that he wakes up the next day with the same number of MPs that he had the previous day.

All it would take is  a scandal; a resignation; and a by-election…

Or a heart attack…

Or a road crash…

A lot can happen in nine months.

Addendum 1

AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE CELEBRATES DELAY IN ASSET SALES

– Monday 3  September

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Aotearoa Is Not For Sale is delighted that the Waitangi Tribunal has been successful in its recommendation to the Government that the sale of Mighty River power shares be delayed until iwi claims over water rights and guardianship are negotiated.

This delay is a victory for all those who have worked tirelessly in the campaign against the Government’s policies to sell our state-owned assets under the mixed ownership model, and ANFS will continue to support Tangata Whenua in their struggle to have their rights and responsibilities as kaitiaki recognized and upheld. Respect for te Tiriti o Waitangi is a reminder of the need for the government to protect the rights of Maori and all other New Zealanders, who built these assets together, and who together assert that the government cannot sell them.“When Maori and the agreement they entered into with the Crown in 1840 is undermined, all New Zealanders are undermined. The decision today can therefore be celebrated by everyone,” says Miriam Pierard, ANFS spokesperson. “The Government is clearly reluctant to back down completely on its very unpopular policy, so although we can take heart today, we must remember that we still have a battle ahead of us.”Aotearoa Is Not For Sale will continue to build a national, direct action movement against asset sales, while supporting Maori in their principled negotiation for recognition of water rights as an issue in it’s own right. We will also continue to boycott Mercury Energy as a subsidiary of Mighty River Power and promote the Keep Our Assets petition for a public referendum on the issue.

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale stands for the retention of all SOEs by all New Zealanders. No special deals. No special shares. No special payments. No asset sales means no asset sales at all, to anyone.

We will not be divided like our assets. We will be united, we will not be silenced, we will resist this together.

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ANFS Spokesperson
Miriam Pierard
aotearoaisnotforsale@gmail.com
http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/

Addendum 2

Winston Peters was “on form” today (3 September) on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report“, when he make the pertinent observation that,

“...I think this has now beome a bloody minded push for an ideological outcome, that  has got a number of people behind the National Party arguing for it, against the national interest.”

Listen: Radio NZ – Morning Report interview with Winston Peters

Peters is correct. This has indeed become little more than an exercise in bloody-mindedness.  With public opposition; conflict with Maori; questions as to how much a share float will raise; a loss in revenue for the State; and other questionable aspects to National’s agenda, there seems very little benefit to the country for asset sales.

Even the majority of business-people oppose asset sales on the basis that it would have been cheaper to borrow money from offshore, rather than losing revenue  from fully-owned SOEs.

See: Selling state assets: it’s a crappy commercial decision – The Voice of Business

Key’s final argument for asset sales is that his Party won a mandate at last year’s election.

Once the petition is submitted to the Clerk of the House and a Referendum is held, even that proposition will vanish.

What will Key do when a referendum delivers an over-whelming “No” vote?

What can he do?

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Additional

Sale of Mighty River Power delayed

Government delays SOE sale

Mighty River sale on hold

Government delays Mighty River Power share float

Mighty River sale to be delayed

RNZ:  Listen to Donna Hall on Morning Report

Scoop/Q+A: Q+A – Shane Taurima Interviews Tony Ryall

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1 September: Aotearoa Not for Sale takes it to Porirua (part tahi)

1 September 2012 7 comments

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Aotearoa is Not For Sale-Wellington (ANFS) took the fight to save our state assets to Porirua, where a marquee was set up at the Cobham Court market, under The Canopies…

ANFS organisor/activist, Ariana opened the gig and welcomed onlookers to the event. She stated that the fight against asset sales was by no means a “dunne deal” and New Zealanders up and down the country continued to oppose National’s disastrous agenda.

Ariana pointed out ANFS activists, moving through the crowd, armed  with clip-boards and  circulating the “Keep Our Assets” petition calling for a referendum on the issue,

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A “fly-in-the-ointment” – a bar behind our stand began belting out Irish tunes at an atrocious decibel-level. The loud music nearly drowned out speakers and musicians, even with our speakers on full.

The owner was approached and politely asked to turn his volume down. Despite his bar not even open to the public (at 9am?!), he declined our request, citing some disagreement with the local Council,

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MP for Mana, Kris Faafoi (l), sitting with Te Taku Parai and Kuni Shepherd (r), and  discussing various matters with Ariana,

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Porirua mayor, Nick Leggett  (l); Green MP, Jan Logie, and friend with companion-animal,

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Kuni Shepherd, Kaumatua for Te Korowai-Whāriki. and a member of the Mental Health Kaunihera, opened the event with a brief karakia,

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Ariana, thanked the previous speaker and introduced the next speaker, Porirua Mayor, Nick Leggett. Before she handed the microphone to  Mayor Leggett, Ariana remarked that there was no excuse for child poverty in this country, and,

Every chilod in this country should have enough to eat.”

Kia ora to that, Ariana…

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Nick Leggett, stated his personal opposition to state asset sales. He spoke of Council investment  in local facilities which benefitted the community as a whole, not just those who had money to buy services. Mayor Leggett described asset sales as a massive transfer of wealth – the largest in a generation.

He spoke of asset sales as not being a good form of investment for the country, as only a minority benefitted.

Mayor Leggett said that whilst he did not represent the Council, as it had no formal position on this issue, that  as an individual he stood in solidarity with public opposition to asset sales. He added that he welcomed the Aotearoa Not For Sale” movement to the city,

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MP for Mana, Kris Faafoi, then took ‘the stage’ at the microphone.

Mr Faafoi said,

There’s still a whole lot more we can do. We need 60,000 more signatures!”

He said that if asset sales – particularly electricity companies – went  ahead, it would be guaranteed that prices would go up. One power company had already recently raised their retail prices for their customers.

Kris Faafoi  paid tribute to ‘People Power Ohariu’, congratulating their efforts to lobby  MP, Peter Dunne, to review his support for National’s asset sales  agenda. He said,

We can still make Peter Dunne change his mind! Email him at Parliament! peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz.”

This blogger witnessed several people hurriedly scribbling Dunne’s email address on scraps of paper or notebooks.

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Te Taku Parai, Iwi representative for Ngati Toa, said that he never thought he would grow up to live in a country where homelessness would be so bad. He said that asset sales would not help the poorest people in our society, nor give opportunities for children living in poverty,

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‘John Key’ made an “impromptu visit”.

It must be a tough life, wheeling his  ‘millions’ around, from one shady deal to another,

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Following the speakers, some fantastic entertainment from Joshua Faletutulu, and his sister, Grace (photo to follow). The crowd enjoyed Joshua’s talent with the guitar and singing,

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Green MP, Jan Logie, addressing the crowd.

Ms Logie was emphatic in her denunciation of National’s asset-sale agenda, saying that it would achieve nothing except worsen the already wide income gap.  She was particularly scathing of people who were dismissive of the petition and stating their intention to buy into a share float,

People who ignore the petition and want to buy shares are saying, ‘Nah, screw you, I have money and want to make more money.”

She said that people who can’t afford shares will pay in another way, as their power prices rise,

That is not the New Zealand way.”

Ms Logie said we are here to look after each other, not just ourselves and our own enrichment,

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ANFS activist, Shane, and two Porirua locals eager to sign the petition,

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More speakers and musicians followed, along with a surprising resolution to loud music from the   “The Dog Box” and what the owner did next…

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Find out what the owner of   “The Dog Box” did next and click on:  1 September: Aotearoa Not for Sale takes it to Porirua (part rua)

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All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
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  •      Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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18 August – Aotearoa Not For Sale, Cuba Mall Gig

18 August 2012 11 comments

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Downtown Wellington was today (18 August) the scene of another anti-asset sales event;  the ‘Cuba Mall Gig’, organised by Aotearoa is Not For Sale – Wellington.

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Aotearoa Not For Sale

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Just after mid-day – on a fine, sunny, wintry Saturday –  the gig was opened by Richard, co-ordinator from Aoteara is Not for Sale (ANFS),who welcomed everyone. He  explained the reason for today’s event; opposition to National’s plans to part-privatise or state owned enterprises will not be going away.

ANFS’s position is;

  • State asset sales currently belong to all New Zealanders
  • Assets are sold only to a mere 6% who can afford to buy shares, while the other 94% look forward to less say in policies; hiked power prices, and less people power
  • Power prices are expected to rise when State Owned Enterprises (SOEs)  are sold, as shareholders  will demand increased profits.

ANFS says,

As New Zealanders we already own these assets, so why should we be forced to buy them back?”

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As well as music and speakers, a petition calling for a nationwide referendum was being circulated for the public to sign. Green MP, Jan Logie (left), was one of many collecting signatures,

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First up; “Brass Razoo” entertained the crowd with music of a ‘resistance nature’,

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Even ANFSs John Maynard pitched in, on the trumpet,

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Jan Logie continued collecting signatures, as the band played on,

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Ex-Alliance members and activists, Larry and Kevin. For them, this is no doubt a re-run of the late 1980s and 1990s,

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Members of the public listening to the music,

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Long-time campaigner, and expert, on sustainable energy and the  state electricity system, Molly Melhuish addressed the crowd.

See: Sustainable Energy Forum

Ms Melhuish has a fearsome knowledge of New Zealand’s energy sector and her research dispels much  of the so-called “information” that National has given to the public,

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Whilst speakers addressed the public and signature gathering continued unabated through the afternoon, others handed out leaflets to passers-by,

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Frances collected donations to help pay for costs of the event.

By the end of the event, the container in her hand held a decent amount of cash,

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Richard, holding up one of many signs,

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Journalist, Vicky, covering the days’ events,

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Sarah Freeman, from the Domestic Energy Users Network said that many people “can’t afford power prices – we don’t see this as a good thing to sell these [power company] assets“.

We want publicly owned assets, and we have to keep telling the government this,” she said.

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Ms Free was followed by entertainer, Billy Naylor, on the banjo,

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Ariana and Richard, collecting signatures,

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Well known, public figure and social justice-campaigner, Mike Smith, collecting signatures,

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Ariana, addressing public onlookers, stated the Mana Party’s position on asset sales, and how they would hurt low and middle income families. She derided the term “mum and dad” investors,

It won’t be mums and dads buying these assets. It’s a National government scam and the proceeds will only hold off our debt for about six months.  This deal is only for the rich in the world and that means most  real mums and dads will end up paying for power companies’ privatisation through higher electricity bills.”

She encouraged the public,

Get your friends and family to download the petition. We are concerned about the sale  of assets and the transfer  of wealth to the rich and powerful.”

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Following Ariana, the next speaker was Dean Baigent, from ‘Forest & Bird Northland‘.

Dean warned the public that National had used $2 million of our money to survey the North and had invited mineral  companies to mine the land,

In the realm of asset sales, this is a transfer of wealth. It’s a ‘revolution’ – but not one that will benefit us. Phil Heatly is keen to transfer mining wealth from Northland to corporate hands. He wants us to be [corporate] shareholders, rather than sharing the wealth and caring about each other and the environment.”

He added, ominously,

Under the TPPA [Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement], once these contracts are signed, we cannot undo them.”

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The final act was a fantastic ensemble with Marama Te Kira, Matiu Te Huki (guitar), and rapper, Matt,

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And pretty soon, the crowd was grooving to the tunes…

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The afternoon was a pleasant, relaxed way to keep the highly contentious issue of asset sales live, and to let the public know that the campaign, to protect what is ours, is not over.

ANFS says that more campaigns are in the offing.

Aotearoa? Not for sale!

Continued @ 18 August – Cuba Mall – other things going on!

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  • Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  • For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  • Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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BREAKING NEWS: Anti-Sale protestors invade Bell Gully offices

13 August 2012 27 comments

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Monday, 13 August: About a dozen anti-sales activitists from AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE – WELLINGTON met at mid-day outside the Old BNZ buildings, at the corner of Customhouse Quay/Willis St/Lambton Quay, with an intention to stage a Flash Occupation,

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As the dozen or so activists met, the ‘target’ of the Flash Occupation was disclosed: Bell Gully legal firm, at 171 Featherston Street.

Bell Gully is closely associated with National’s asset sales programme, providing legal services, and ANFS activitists wanted to draw attention to this company’s connections to the theft of publicly owned assets.

See: Firms appointed for Mighty River Power initial public offer

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The message would be simple: Aotearoa’s assets are not for sale, and would be delivered through signage; song; and a message to be read out at Bell Gully,

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Richard (center, white shirt, no tie) instructed the group that the Flash Occupation would be peaceful and non-violent. A plan was discussed and agreed upon,

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Once at Bell Gully, the protest group entertained Bell Gully staff with anti-asset sales songs, specially written for the occassion,

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Bell Gully staff were quick to emerge from their offices, and were obviously displeased to see us there. We explained to this chap why we were there, and that we represented the majority of New Zealanders who were staunchly opposed to the sale of publicly owned assets,

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The Occupiers began singing anti asset sale songs again,

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Another Bell Gully staffer emerged (white shirt and bad taste lavender tie). This was one of Bell Gully’s executive managers and was also unhappy at the occupation of his offices,

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The executive became more insistant that we leave and informed the Occupiers that the Police were on their way,

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The Bell Gully execs were told that we would leave, but that first a message, on behalf of the public of New Zealand was read out,

The power companies Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, and Meridian Energy belong to those who built them from scratch, benefitted from them in the past and benefit  from them today;

all New Zealanders.

The proposed sale of these State Owned Assets means the transfer from public into private ownership of these essential national services. We know that this will result in higher power prices for thepublic and loss of control of our electricity-generating capacity.

We think your role in this process is outrageous and we, as members of the public, object to paying fees to you to help sell what we already own.

No sale of state assets!

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Shane, reading out a message on behalf of the public of New Zealand

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After the message was read out, there was spontaneous chanting of  “power to the people!” and “Who’s got the power? We got the power!”.

Aside from one of the  receptionists briefly grabbing one of the female protestors on the shoulder, there was no other physical confrontation between the anti asset-sales activists and Bell Gully staffers. The receptionist removed her hands from the female activist when it was pointed out that such action could constitute technical assault.

The Occupation concluded at that point and the protestors left, peacefully, of their own accord.

The protest action last for about 20 minutes and there was no damage or mess caused by any of the activists.

Note – from Bell Gully’s website,

Social Responsibility

We firmly believe that social responsibility is an integral part of a successful and sustainable business.

Our commitment is demonstrated through the policies that guide our operations and practices, and through our actions at work and in the community.

We manage our operations in line with sound environmentally sustainable practices and by contributing time, expertise and funding to community organisations in need of support.

We seek to build long-term partnerships with organisations dedicated to improve the quality of life for people within the communities in which we live and work including organisations working with:

  • Parents and families
  • Cancer patients and their families
  • Teenagers who could benefit from mentoring
  • People unable to pay for essential legal advice.”

See: Bell Gully – Social Responsibility

It Bell Gully’s shame that they do not extend their sentiments toward social responsibility to the immoral theft of our publicly owned state assets.

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Additional

Facebook: Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Guest Author: This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Occupy NZ Media #BTB #ShowAndTell Coverage

Occupy Savvy

21 July 2012

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(This post is now complete. Please share far and wide. Thank you so much for supporting citizen journalism. All credit to Occupy New Zealand Media team. Redstar’s livestream footage of this event is available here.)

Saturday 21st July 2012 was another awesome day for NZ students; who used the opportunity of the ruling National Party Conference hosted at SkyCity Casino (yes, THAT Sky City…) to push their message that education cuts, privatisation and forced austerity measures were NOT going to be taken lying down.

They did a brilliant job of organising this public event, which had many new features including NLG-style Legal Observers, free ‘Red Square’ pins for everyone and a welcoming crew that approached & chatted with members of the public throughout the day. The level of thought that had gone into the event really impressed us.

Below is a People’s Media mash-up of photos, tweets & our experiences on the ground. Non-commercial organisations (ie. other Occupy pages, citizen journalists, charities, organisations who openly endorse/support Occupy) are welcome to reprint/reblog/download/share any of the images below but we ask that you please credit Occupy New Zealand Media Team/Occupy Savvy. As usual the “big crowd” photos are about halfway down the post.

Kia ora koutou. It is a privilege to present this to you Aotearoa.

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These guys were the first thing I saw heading into Britomart. The mat was roll-up & they would jump into the intersection when the pedestrian crossing turned green – roll out the mat – drop a freestyle to some old school b-boy blaring from their beatbox and then roll it back up & jump back out when the lights turned green. So cool.

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These girls came straight up to me with big smiles and a free red square pin before I could even get to where the march was assembling.

Having such a friendly welcoming/outreach crew definitely made the difference, as I saw more and more members of the public enticed off the sidewalks and into the march proper.

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The sound truck from last Saturday’s Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march made a reappearance, except instead of King Kapisi on the back, it was bearing a coffin!

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Initially the police presence appeared minimal – probably a dozen cops. We found out later why so few were at Britomart… when we got to Sky City Convention Centre.

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Looking towards the port, where the beleaguered MUNZ workers spent much of the last year fighting for basic work conditions and respect from their well-heeled employers.

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They had this road truck follow them around dropping road cones opening & closing roads.

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The march begins to form – with the familiar BLOCKADE THE BUDGET banner from the last Blockade The Budget student protest, which suffered mass arrests and police assaults on peacefully protesting students and faculty at Auckland University.

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Our Occu-Mama & Occupy Media member Lyn repping Socialist Aotearoa. She is an inspirational wahine toa who is one of the 8 arbitrarily-selected members of Occupy Auckland to be personally persecuted and mercilessly prosecuted (at ridiculous ratepayer expense) by Auckland Council. (Who we prefer to refer to as Auckland Corporatouncil!)

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^^^ Take a good look at the above photo. It was one of the most telling & hilarious parts of the event. We slipped in behind the Socialist Aotearoa banner with Lyn (despite the fact I’m actually not a socialist, S.A. have done a lot to support Occupy in NZ) and was immediately descended upon by the above reporter & cameraman for TV1 News. “Can we interview you?” They asked. “Sure” we said. “But we’re just going to grab a quick pic of you first.” Camera already out, within a microsecond the shot was taken. The reporter surprised & amused – the cameraman not even slightly amused. They asked us a few questions and we answered eloquently and fluidly enough that the reporter was surprised and exclaimed, “thanks, that was great!” while the cameraman scowled bitterly at us. They disappeared off for a quick huddle and then reappeared. The dinosaur cameraman demanded that we re-shoot the piece due to having had sunglasses on (it was 1pm). We politely refused and got told that the footage “wouldn’t be used then”. Why is this significant? Wait and see what happens with these two further down this post.

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People begin to move onto the street as the march begins to fill up.

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It soon becomes apparent that there are vastly more people in the middle of the street than there are on the pavement.

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A lone motorbike cop in front of the march assembly.

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People turn to face a small stage where speakers address the crowd and the street theatre commences.

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School children hold up signs representing different types of employees and students effected by austerity measures and education cuts, then a man with a huge pair of fake scissors jumps out and literally cuts their signs in half. Pre-planned, they all laugh.

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Naomi – performed a passionate piece of spoken word poetry, beautifully.

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Jai Bentley-Payne spoke on behalf of the students, warning us “Austerity is a SCAM!!!”. We quoted him on livetweet on #BTB and #Showandtell hashtags as well as the Canadian student movement hashtags #ggi #casseroles #manifecours and within minutes, his quote was retweeted around the world by students in solidarity globally.

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And finally – we were off. The march up from the bottom of Queen Street begins.

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There was all different kinds of New Zealanders marching; of every colour, shape and background.

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“They Take Our Education – We Take The Streets!”

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The giant red solidarity square was out again – which the kids loved playing under.

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John Key….. is a duck? LOL.

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One of the greatest things about today was the brand spanking new student-provided legal observers. This is something sorely lacking at previous protests mainly due to the lack of NLG-type organisation in New Zealand to support democratic peaceful protesters. Looks like thanks to the students, this is changing. Kia ora students!

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This iconic Auckland intersection (Victoria & Queen) once again occupied by the public – for the second time in eight days.

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5000 post-grad students are estimated to be unable to continue study due to changes made by the ruling National Party and the austerity measures they are imposing upon education (and other public sectors).

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The “Fuck The Rich” guy was back and very pleased when we told him our photo of his sign at last Saturday’s Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march was picked up by a Spanish-language online newspaper with 94,000 likes on their page. Pretty impressive.

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I guess this is what they call civil disobedience! Though really, its exercise. The exercising of our democratic rights!

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The mood quickly turns from jubilant to appropriately solemn as students bear the coffin all the way up Victoria Street from Queen Street as a funeral march plays.

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Protesters observe a minute of silence but their signs speak on regardless.

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We finally make it to Sky City Conference Centre….. and arrive at a shocking sight. Police officers wall the inside of the entrance two deep. People stand around with literally mouths hanging open at the wanton display of force. Yet still it is only a fraction of what will later greet us outside the casino itself.

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Despite the police presence, protesters put signs and stickers up on the glass and the coffin is carried up to the entrance.

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking   fmacskasy.wordpress.com Occupy Savvy 21 July 2012 Auckland  National Party Conference 2012 Skycity

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking   fmacskasy.wordpress.com Occupy Savvy 21 July 2012 Auckland  National Party Conference 2012 Skycity

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The crowd begin to chant enthusiastically. Most of the chants are recorded on the livetweet which can be found on Twitter

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At first we thought they might be there to enforce the No Smoking policy…

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Until we saw these guys.

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As we clearly were not going to be able to enter the convention centre, off we went around the block, the long way to Sky City Casino. Completely unawares of what awaited us.

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As we hit Federal Street, we realised the bottom over-street Skywalk was filled with Casino executives and the top Skywalk was filled with cops. Being towards the back, it took a few minutes to realise what was blocking the march at the front line…

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It was awesome to see random members of the public out walking their dogs join the march… wonder what he thought of what was in front of him…

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Tried to get closer to the front to find out why no one was able to move any further…

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Passing ASB bank on Federal Street the cops were shoulder to shoulder but we still had no idea what lay ahead of the march…

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As we reached this point the jackets in front of the march gave us some indication of what was ahead..

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The police were walling off the road in Federal Street which explained why the march had ceased moving – however – we were not at all prepared for the sight of what was behind that first wall of police… take note of the far right cop in the above picture for a reference point…

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The woman pictured to the bottom right wasn’t a cop or a protester. She was actually a member of the public who found herself stuck and couldn’t get through. We politely asked the police if they could please let her through as she wasn’t with us and was genuinely being prevented from accessing public space. They initially refused outright but after we insisted they should have an officer escort her through they relented and did so. Then – to our shock – remember Mr. grumpy dinosaur mainstream media cameraman? Well he showed up to our immediate left and says to the cops “let me through for a shot.” To our utter astonishment the police immediately stand aside and allow him through the line.

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We were flabbergasted and immediately request to also be allowed through to take some shots to which we were told “that is for media only”. When we identified ourselves as media, the police supervisor told us “STAY WHERE YOU ARE” in an extremely rude and abrupt manner. We were puzzled – wondering why mainstream media could access the blocked area but not citizen journalists? Then we realise what the mainstream media camera was seeing from back there. Or more importantly – what it wasn’t.

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From where they filmed – they couldn’t see the cops above them. They couldn’t see the cops behind them. They couldn’t see the barricaded forcibly closed street nor that all of the aforementioned collectively stopped the march from proceeding, ending and dissipating as quickly as planned by organisers. It soon became clear that they were tailoring their vantagepoint.

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Apparently it wasn’t only MSM that got free access to behind police lines. There were also Sky City staff – assumedly supervisors – taking holiday snaps behind the front line. Not sure why they have more rights than the citizen journalists who were prevented from entering – would love to put in an official letter to the NZ Police to find out why corporate staff have greater access and rights when in the middle of a public street photographing a democratic protest, than our public independent media do? Ridiculous.

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Perhaps blinded by the sight of so many flourescent vests, after some spirited chanting of “Army of the rich, enemy of the poor!” at the hundreds of police present, the march turns around and heads back to the Convention Centre; where there had seemed so many cops; but now seemed few by comparison!!

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Even though by that point we were all using the sidewalk… the police preferred the road and trailed us all the way back to the convention centre…

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…helpfully again lining the streets all the way around…

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…and again blocking the entrance. Awesome.

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The protest was officially called and we were really happy to meet this cheery lady and get this great pic of her Aotearoa Is Not For Sale t-shirt. Shout out to everyone who attended and supported today. Good on you for braving the intimidation tactics and having your say.

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Leaving the site of the protest we had one last bizarre experience – we noticed a huge blacked out SUV parked across the pavement with two Sky City employees guarding it. As it is an unusual sight to see a vehicle parked on the pavement, with not a single police officer ticketing it, we stopped and took a photo. At which point the supervisor on the right hand side started to have a complete fit at us, demanding “NO PHOTOS, NO PHOTOS”. Before we could even begin to respond several members of the public interjected, with one screaming at him that he had no right to prevent the public taking photographs on public streets and essentially, who did he think he was for attempting to interfere with us. We asked him whose car it was and he snapped “it’s MY car”… because quite obviously Sky City supervisors park blacked out SUV’s across the pavement then guard them personally, with staff security guards also present? We don’t think so, buddy :)

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We spotted some pretty awesome signs throughout the day. Below is a collection of them. Thank you to everyone for being so friendly and happily having your signs photographed.

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Auckland Action Against Poverty are hosting tomorrow’s protest at the same location – click here for the Facebook event details.

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Unite Union have been a big supporter of Occupy, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, and the student movement.

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Socialist Aotearoa, another huge supporter of Occupy and other protest movements in NZ.

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Taking the piss out of the National slogan: “Shit policies = Shit edacation. National 4 a Brighta Futur”

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Students have scrawled micro-messages to John Key all over their main “Blockade The Budget” banner.

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Some of the language is pretty colourful and spirited but the message is clear. Invest in the future of New Zealand. Not finance companies and privatisation of public assets.

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A pissed-off parent has their say.

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A serious question…

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Are you listening, “Mr” Key? No doubt your lackeys are…

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Students are often under-appreciated by our government, who like to depict them as lazy.

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This entry was posted in Occupy Auckland, Occupy Citizen Journalists, Occupy Events, Occupy Facebook, Occupy Journalism, Occupy Legal, Occupy Media, Occupy MSM Propoganda, Occupy New Zealand, Occupy Pics, Occupy Police, Occupy Social Media, Occupy Solidarity, Occupy Testimony, Occupy Twitter.

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Copyright

All images on this page are used by permission from Occupy Savvy. For permission, please contact   Occupy Savvy at content@mediasavvy.co.nz.

Acknowledgement

Reprinted with kind permission from  Occupy Savvy

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Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Rua)

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Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking   No Asset Sales Wellington 14 July https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com Aotearoa is not for sale

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Continued from:  Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Tahi)

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What we do now, will impact on her future. Asset sales for this generation’s ‘benefit’ will affect how following generations live and work in our country.  This is unfair and  is little more than a form of inter-generational theft.

What will this young lady think of us when she’s older?

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The link between impending asset sales and the secret Trans Pacific Partnership  Agreement (TPPA) cannot be underestimated. The Agreement will be the vehicle through which our State Assets – currently own by all New Zealanders – will eventually end up in foreign ownership.

The Free Trade Agreement with China has already resulted in the sale of 16 Crafar farms to Chinese investors.

Dear Leader said that he would not like to see New Zealanders as “tenants in our own country” – yet that is precisely the road that he is driving New Zealand down on,

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Citizens young and old, listened to speakers who addressed the crowd,

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CTU Economist and Director of Policy, Bill Rosenberg, addressing the rally, and explaining why asset sales is a really, really bad idea,

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Mother and children… she must’ve been wondering what sort of future we will be leaving  our kids,

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A sign that has appeared in over 16 towns and cities, on a nationwide day of action,

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The crowd gave koha to cover the costs of organising and setting up the Protest rally. Some gave gold coins, others slipped $20 dollars into the jar,

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Entertainment provided by musician, Billy Naylor,

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Onlookers looking at someone who appears on the scene,

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“John Key” broke in to Kris Faafoi’s speech to tell the crowd he had made a wheelbarrow full of money by selling every third or fourth word from our national anthem,

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“John Key” proceeded to sing the “new, revised” anthem,

http://frankly-speaking-blog.tumblr.com/private/27253031438/tumblr_m775z00vlZ1rbqecu

There was mixed reaction  when “John Key” announced he had sold the trademark name “New Zealand” and henceforth we’d be calling our country “Aotearoa”.

“John Key” then happily pushed  his wheelbarrow of  “billions of  dollars” – the dirty proceeds from  dirty little deal-making,

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Blogger, Alistair, distracting “John Key” with a bit of boogey-dancing, whilst the people took back the loot from Key’s wheel-barrow of ill-gotten gains,

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Alastair was interviewed by the Radio NZ journo, who asked him,

* why I was there?

I said that I was concerned about the sale of what is effectively a natural monopoly.

* Asked about the main reason why people in general are so concerned?

I said that people have been burned before, citing Telecom as an example of us being ripped off during the years when technological limitations meant that it remained a natural monopoly.

* I was challenged with the idea that the power companies could be run more efficiently in private hands (or words to that effect)?

I pointed out that the power companies are current well run and wouldn’t have sufficient capital value to sell if they weren’t. I also noted foreign investors’ tendency to starve capital investment, with the result being a loss of productivity within the organisation.

* I told the reporter that higher power prices were my main concern, not so much because of the immediate effect of paying more, but because of the downstream effects of low income people having no spare capacity in their budgets.

Well said, Alastair! Excellent responses!

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“No Deal” – a fitting response to John Key’s “Deal or No Deal”. In this case, however, John Key is playing with assets that belong to us, the people,

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The crowd seemed to grow as the afternoon progressed. Passers-by stopped; watched; and many signed the petition,

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Another of the Convenors, Aroha Priest, Mana whenua from Atiawa, addressing the crowd and reminding them of the cultural history and heritage of  our beautiful country,

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Ms Priest introduced 8-year old Jireh Pirihi, who in turn  gave a brief talk to the rally. A very courageous young lad – perhaps a future Prime Minister?

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Which was followed by an emotion-laden  dance by  Ms Priest, Jireh, and others,

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Marama Te Kira,  using here amazingly beautiful voice with some lovely singing,

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And finally,  Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati thanking everyone for attending the Rally and encouraging everyone to keep fighting National’s asset-sales programme,

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All up, it was a peaceful, dignified protest. In fact, there was no police presence at all (which was quite surprising).   The media gave brief, limited  coverage on TV1, but otherwise it will be up to the internet and social media to report the event fully.

The message continues tgo be sheeted home to John Key and National; our state assets belong to us, and we demand that the privatisation programme be scrapped. Quite simply, Aotearoa/New Zealand is not for sale!

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Important Links

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Occupy Savvy

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Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Tahi)

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Despite a cold, wet afternoon, with intermittant drizzle drenching the city, about 200 hundred people of all ages, race, etc, gathered in Cuba Mall on 14 July.

We were ‘greeted’ by this chap, who had his own ‘beef’ with John Key and a somewhat odious aspect of the recent 2012  Budget,

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This blogger chatted briefly with the gentleman, who was passing out leaflets on this particular issue. In fact, he has a fairly strong point; taxing paperboys and girls for what tiny amounts they happen to earn  reeks of a miserly desperation from  National.

At the same time, the main beneficiaries of the 2009 and 2010 taxcuts were the richest 10% of New Zealanders.

For some reason, taxing children whilst giving more money to the wealthy constitutes “fairness” in the minds of John Key and Bill English…

Approaching the main protest rally, by the Bucket Fountain, we saw this young man. The sign he was holding seemed more than appropriate,

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Signs stuck to park benches in the Mall. One sez, ” We are the average mum and dad and we don’t want our assets sold off “.

I disagree with this sign; there’s nothing average about the good folk who attended this protest. They are each outstanding in their own way, and love their country very much. Definitely above-average, patriotic  folk!

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The message was clear and simple, WE DON’T WANT OUR ASSETS SOLD!!

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One of the organisers of the Protest,

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Bronwyn, from the Labour Party. Where ever there is a just cause to fight, Bronwyn will stand up and be counted. We just need another 4,399,999 like her – and John Key is going downnnn,

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“Zombie economics” – a valid description. Zombies stagger along; oblivious to everything; obsessed; and a menace to everyone. Hmmm, I think we’ve just described John Key and the National Party.

But unlike zombies, we’re not allowed to shoot them. (That’s still a no-no.)

We can, however, vote them out. Much better than shooting them. (And less messy.)

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People were queueing up to sign the petition calling for a Citizens Initiated Referenda to put a halt to asset sales. There simply didn’t seem to be enough clipboards to go around,

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TV1 News and Radio NZ were present to report the event. Sadly there was no sign of TV3 or any other media,

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Members of the public chatted and shared their views on issues,

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Interestingly, there was no police presence at any time during the Protest rally.  Similar past events have all been peaceful, and no doubt our police had better things to do with their time. Like catching crooks.

Don’t forget John Key and his accomplices, Constable…

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Labour’s, Kris Faafoi, was the only Member of Parliament present, and we chatted on issues surrounding state assets and how they might be protected from future National governments,

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Aroha Priest, one of the Convenors of the rally, addressed the crowd. Other speakers and entertainers included Koro Alex, who opened with a mihi and karakia;  Terry Shore (musician); John Maynard (People’s Power Ohariu); Howard  Philips (Rail & Maritime Union); Labour’s Kris Faafoi; and others.

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Someone who obviously understood economic and fiscal issues, and how their impact on other nations serve as a dire  warning for us,

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Obviously a cold, wet afternoon – but folk were not deterred,

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The ones who will be most affected by John Key and his crazy plans for privatisation; our children.  If National’s right wing agenda succeeds, what kind of  society will our youngsters grow up in?

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Many folk realise the close connection between state asset sales and the secretly-negotiated, extremely-dodgy, Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. Both have implications for our society that we can only begin to guess at,

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A presence from the Maritime Union  was good to see. Considering the  vicious attack mounted against Maritime workers  by the POAL board and management, and various right wing reactionaries, it is reassuring to have these gutsy guys standing alongside us,

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Alastair (in blue jacket) – a well-known People’s Journalist, who reports many of these events on his Facebook page,

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This image shows the wide range of ages of New Zealanders who are staunchly opposed to the sale of our State assets. This is not an issue for “young radicals” or “Grey Power” – this issue cuts across age, gender, incomes, race, etc. Quite simply, these are our assets that Key and his cronies are about to flog off,

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A simple enough message for Dear Leader,

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Continued at:  Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Rua)

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Important Links

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Occupy Savvy

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Aotearoa Is Not For Sale – Wellington

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Aotearoa is Not for Sale – Wellington – Action Day

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  • Saturday

  • 2:00pm until 4:00pm  

  • Cuba Street by the Bucket Fountain

‘Aotearoa is Not for Sale’ groups New Zealand wide are having an action day this Saturday 14th at 2pm.

The Wellington group, in unity with the nation-wide events, are organizing an afternoon of music and speakers to create and continue the awareness of:

Its not too late to save our state assets  (Power companies have not been sold yet!)

Petitions can be signed, leading to a referendum on the above matter.

Come one, come all; bring banners, playcards and signs!
Show the people in power!

See you there!

Facebook Page

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4 May – Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The morning of 4 May, and people began to asemble outside Te Papa museum,  to complete the Hikoi to Parliament. On the agenda: opposing National’s planned (part-)privatisation of several state assets,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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Police, conferring amongst themselves, around the corner from the main assembly,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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For many, it was a family event,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The protest signs were all mostly handmade, varied, and creative. Regardless of origin, their message was clear and simple,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And the hikoi set of. These folks brought up the rear of the march,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And cheered on by many supportive  well-wishers, who looked on from buildings and footpaths  along the route,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And three of Peter Dunne’s constituents, in Ohariu – they were most unhappy at their MP supporting National’s asset sales programme,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The media was correct to estimate the crowd at over 5,000. (This blogger estimates at least 6,000.) Parliament’s grounds were filled with people,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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This is the first ‘batch’ of pics to be posted.

Continued at:  4 May – Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi – Part Rua

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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