Protest Huge Against Asset Sales Today in Queen Street, Auckland,28 April 2012
Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi-Protest.
Today, I attended a huge demonstration against NZ asset sales, which began at Britomart, in Auckland’s Queen Street at 3PM.
The Hikoi against asset sales from Cape Reinga in the Far North, led by Hone Harawira of the Mana Party, had travelled several days in the journey down to Auckland. At around 2.45, the Hikoi finally arrived to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd which was cheering and applauding, and waving their banners.
I personally carried a ‘Mana’ poster all the way from the bottom of Queen Street, which I was proud to bear. I am sure the spirit of ‘Hemi’ was with me. Some of us Pakehas have to stick up for ourselves, and for the Maori people, and, indeed, for all underprivileged people in this country, whose rights are being steadily eroded, as capitalism and corporations move into this so-called ‘land of plenty’..
When we left Britomart, to head up Queen Street, the crowd was still growing. By the time we had marched up Queen Street to Aotea Square, an hour later, the crowd had grown so big, it seemed to cover the stretch of ground all the way back down to Britomart.
These protesters from the Far North are really what gave beef to the demonstration, giving the movement against asset sales a fantastic energy which we all perceived even days before they all arrived. Their dedication to the crucial issue of retaining ownership of our land, and their determination to do something about it, inspired many of us to join the protest.
The pressing issue of the Crafer Farm sale to foreign investors was what got many of us fired up. The government wants to sell the Crafer Farms to Chinese investors, instead of selling them to the New Zealand consortium of dairy farmers, led by Sir Michael Fay, who have tried to buy the farms.
Many people are concerned about the national government’s policy on state housing, and this concern was expressed by the many banners which declared “No Sale of State Houses’ and such-like. Spokesperson for the movement against the sale of state houses in Glen Innes, Yvonne Dainty, marched with the crowd, and gave a speech at Aotea Square, in which she stated her concerns for all those people being evicted from their houses, just so the government can sell the land.
I was 100% sure that the protest against asset sales would not be a fizzer. And it wasn’t. Russel Norman, leader of the Greens, said in his speech at Aotea Square, that this demonstration was dramatic and pivotal, that it would change New Zealand politics forever, and that it would put a stop to the reckless land and asset sales this government is promoting. This protest will definitely change things for the better.
Russel Norman made the point that the whole world is protesting against this usury style of politics, which is based on capitalism. He reminded us of demonstrations overseas, and that other governments are already addressing these same issues that we, here in New Zealand, were addressing today at this demonstration. The main thing, of course, is to retain assets so that the common people benefit from them, and not to allow corporations to take over public assets so that they profit from them, while the rest of us become poor paying their levies.
Russel Norman, leader of the Greens, emphasized the fact that, if these assets of ours are sold off, then all of us will suffer, and so will the children of future generations, because we will be deprived of the huge income which these assets would bring us, year after year. Which is why we MUST keep our land and our assets. Everything which our forbears fought to create for us, the land and everything on it, must stay in NZ ownership, if we are to leave any sort of inheritance for the generations of New Zealanders to come.
Russel went on to say that all we have to do now is to topple the stronghold which National has, by getting rid of John Banks and Peter Dunn. John Banks is already in trouble because of his failure to declare $50,000 ,which was a gift from Kim.com, intended to help Banks with his mayoral campaign. This was a generous gift, and would have been perfectly acceptable, had Banks done the right thing and DECLARED it. But, no, he refused to acknowledge that Kim.com had helped him, and even went so far as to say, on Campbell Live, that he did not remember going to Kim.com’s mansion in a helicopter. Which he did.
So, because of his dishonesty and complete lack of integrity, Banks has decided his fate himself. The final showdown of this errant politician should be relatively easy. Without Banks, and without Dunn, the National government will be powerless to manifest their planned capitalistic misdeeds. That will be the end of them. God speed the day.
This Hikoi-protest movement is gaining great momentum. By the time it gets to Wellington, the Hikoi march itself will be several thousand people strong, I should think.
Add the Hikoi protestors to all those independent protesters going to Wellington from near and far on the 4th April, when the Hikoi arrives in Wellington, and we will have the largest demonstration against any New Zealand government ever recorded.
Media Down-Played The Protest: It seems that peaceful demonstrations do not make the headlines, no matter how big they are. Extremely disapponting, but what many of us expected, to read the news the following day in ‘The Herald On Sunday’ and see that the demonstration did not appear on the front page. The front page news featured a story, and a photo, about race-horses ending up on the table for people to eat. The lower half of the page had a story about a woman with dementia who got lost at Sky City casino.
A small photo and a wee blurb about the anti-asset sales protest appeared on page 5, saying that the demonstrators numbered between two and three thousand people. This was grossly misrecorded, in my opinion, down-played to suit the wishes of government. The government wants to pretend to the public that the opposition against them counts for nothing, when, in fact, opposition to the government’s wheeler-dealer deals and its social policies, is growing dramatically.
My daughter saw the television news after the march. The first item on the list was the death of a famous rugby player. The last item on the news was the thing which happened that day, in New Zealand’s largest city – the huge protest against asset sales which linked with Hone Harawira’s Hikoi from Cape Reinga.
Rugby will divert the Kiwi attention every time. The Rugby World Cup, and the fact that we won it, was the real reason that John Key got in again. That dubious cup of tea with John Banks also helped because of press coverage, and the deal which Key and Banks struck.
Key rode into his success on the back of the team we had all backed – the All Blacks. His success was already made, since the photo of John Key standing with the triumphant All-Blacks after their Rugby World Cup win, was plastered in every newspaper over the country for weeks. But the All-Black success really had nothing to do with this perpetually grinning clown.