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Can’t you play off to one side?

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, May 25th, 2009 - 93 comments
Categories: activism, auckland supercity, democratic participation - Tags:

Last year a small number of truck companies held the ‘truck strike’, they got 4000 trucks to jam the CBDs of every major city in New Zealand because they were unhappy about a 1% increase in their costs from higher Road User Charges. The Right applauded. Lefties, including some on The Standard, criticised the protests’ cause but not the right of protesters to take to the streets.

Flash forward to today. Thousands and thousands of ordinary people taking to the streets to fight for local democracy in Auckland. Do their opponents engage in debating the issue? No, they attack them for protesting at all.

John Key claims (based on his crowd-spectrum analyser readings) that most of the people protesting are ‘rent-a-mob’ types. Funny he didn’t mind that most of the truckies in the truck strike were being paid to take part. Paul Henry who loved it when you couldn’t move in Auckland’s CBD for trucks is wailing about people on foot causing the same congestion. Cameron Brewer of the Newmarket Business Association, without a modicum of evidence, claims the protest will cost businesses millions. They too supported the truck strike, and no moans over the cost then.

Look, if you don’t agree with the cause someone is protesting over, fine, come out and argue against it. But trying to undermine the legitimacy of them protesting at all, effectively asking them to do their protesting off to one side and out of everyone’s way, that’s pathetic.

It’s simply another attack on democracy.

What the likes of Key, Henry and Brewer fail to realise is how transparent they are. Everyone can see they’re just making these attacks because they are afraid of what the protests represent but are unable to counter them with real arguments. That plays into the protesters’ hands.

Little snipes at the protests don’t weaken the protesters. Really, they show the weakness of the Right’s position.

93 comments on “Can’t you play off to one side? ”

  1. Pat 1

    “Thousands and thousands…”

    Stuff reports “about 2000” and Radio Live say 5000. Neither qualify for “thousands and thousands” in my book.

    Spin only devalues your argument.

    • Anita 1.1

      ?! How many does it take to meet your criteria for “thousands and thousands”? I assume more than “a couple of thousand” and less than “nearly ten thousand” and nowhere near “tens of thousands”.

      I reckon 5,000 looks dead on for “thousands and thousands”.

      P.S. I think you learnt your protest counting from the Wellington Police who specialise in “a small group of rowdy protestors” no matter how many thousands turn up.

      • samiam 1.1.1

        Hahahahahah the irony of these two commenters

        A post goes up about how peple who cant argue the issue will attack the protesters, and then right on cue these two douche bags attack the protesters
        Way to go – Comment FAIL

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      “Mr Haumaha said police estimate the crowd to be between 5000 and 7000 strong.”

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10573990

      So let’s call it 6000.

      Does that qualify, if not why not?

      No spin allowed, as per your ardent desire.

  2. bilbo 2

    I thought Key had stated that he supported their right to protest ?

  3. gingercrush 3

    Lefties, including some on The Standard, criticised the protests’ cause but not the right of protesters to take to the streets.

    John Key said he respected the right for people to protest. You say the right are being hypocrites. I remember Helen Clark screaming, “Haters and wreckers”. If that isn’t hypocritical I don’t know it is.

    The left likes to think they can take the high road on everything. You can’t really. Shift things around and you’d be doing the exact same thing.

    • r0b 3.1

      I remember Helen Clark screaming, “Haters and wreckers’.

      You may “remember” it, but it didn’t happen. “Screaming” indeed. What she said was foolish, and equally foolish is Key calling protesters “cold and desperate”

    • felix 3.2

      Please link to some audio or video of Helen Clark “screaming ‘haters and wreckers’ “.

      If you can’t do that, how about a link to a credible news report of the screaming?

      I’m absolutely certain that if Helen Clark had screamed as you say, you’d have no trouble at all linking to it. It would be the most played nz youtube video ever. It would’ve been remixed into a hundred pumping dance tracks. It would be omnipresent in the culture and you’d be able to point to it in about 20 seconds.

      But she didn’t scream those words, did she gc? And you can’t link to any record of it, can you gc?

      So perhaps you should retract and re-word it, no?

    • lprent 3.3

      As rOb said – it didn’t happen. So I should (in the same sense as your comment) hereby start the myth that JK by saying that people on the hikoi were cold was in fact yelling at the top of his voice that “Maori should DIE”.

      Makes as much sense as your alleged ‘memory’

      • notreallyalawyer 3.3.1

        “Helen Clark is labelling high-profile hikoi organisers “haters and wreckers”.”

        http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_story_skin/424042%3Fformat=html

        • gingercrush 3.3.1.1

          Oh they’re just annoyed that I embellished it by saying she screamed it.

          Though that does show how nasty Helen Clark could be. Could you imagine the outrage if Key said anything close to what she said.

          • felix 3.3.1.1.1

            It’s not an embellishment, ginger, it’s a lie.

            First you said you remembered her screaming – now you say you were embellishing.

            So you don’t remember her screaming but you wrote that you do remember it.

            That’s called lying, gc. At least you admitted to it.

          • Pascal's bookie 3.3.1.1.2

            Like if he said those on the DPB were breeding for business? That sort of thing.

            BTW, what was the National party’s position on the F&S, back in the day?

          • notreallyalawyer 3.3.1.1.3

            “wreckers and haters” – who needs to scream.

            Key appears very reasonable in comparison.

          • Ngaio 3.3.1.1.4

            I hate to tell Mr Parker, but he may not be aware that in National’s view Māori did not own the foreshore and seabed in an exclusive situation. They owned it along with all other New Zealanders, and they have not had anything taken off them.

          • felix 3.3.1.1.5

            Or when just the other day he said of the Waterview protesters “those people are all cold and desperate”?

            Also Pb, the national party have always been the best friend the maori people could have. And we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

          • felix 3.3.1.1.6

            who needs to scream?

            Who needs to lie about it?

          • r0b 3.3.1.1.7

            Could you imagine the outrage if Key said anything close to what she said.

            Key has done exactly that, calling peaceful protesters “cold and desperate”. I could “embelish” that by saying that Key screamed it at the protesters, that would be fine with you wouldn’t it gc?

          • felix 3.3.1.1.8

            r0b, I do remember Key screaming that, and he was waving a big knife too.

          • r0b 3.3.1.1.9

            Hey felix – you’re right! Now I’m starting to “remember” it too! Spread the word…

        • felix 3.3.1.2

          notreallyareader either, are you?

          • notreallyalawyer 3.3.1.2.1

            ah, she did actually say “wreckers and haters” – which is quite a lot more vitriolic than anything Key has said about this Hikoi.

            Still, that doesn’t quite fit in with the martyrdom complex assiduously developed at the standard

            • lprent 3.3.1.2.1.1

              I think that the objection was with the “screaming” that gc ‘remembered’. gc’s memory has proved to be faulty. We’re kind of emphasizing it at present.

          • felix 3.3.1.2.2

            Haters and wreckers, actually. And yes she said it. Not screamed, not shrieked, not caterwauled, which is why I pointed out that you can’t read very well. Go back to the top and start again, sleepy.

      • Tim Ellis 3.3.2

        According to the same TVNZ report, Helen Clark is quoted as saying:

        “What it is, is the same old faces. The Ken Mairs, the Harewira Family, the Annette Sykes, the haters and wreckers, the people who destroy Waitangi every year, now wanting to do a Waitangi in every town in New Zealand on the way to Wellington where they will do a Waitangi on the steps of Parliament. Is this not what New Zealand has got absolutely sick and tired of?” Clark asked

        That seems far more harsh than what Mr Key said of this hikoi.

        We don’t know if Ms Clark “screamed” it, but that seems to be a very pedantic point.

        • felix 3.3.2.1

          The difference between lying (which gc admitted to) and not lying is pedantic, Tim?

          For you it is, sure, but the rest of us try not to sink to your level.

        • r0b 3.3.2.2

          Unbelievable Tim. You think it’s OK for you to tell lies as long as you personally believe that they “might” be true. And you think that the difference between the truth and lies is just a “pedantic point”. What then, do you actually have to contribute to rational discussion?

  4. Pat 4

    To extend the truck protest analogy, it was not hijacked by other Righties protesting against fuel prices or speed cameras or anything else.

    The Hikoi has got groups wanting the Supercity scrapped, the PSA wanting jobs saved, and Maori Sovereignty protesters. It dilutes the main message somewhat.

  5. edoze 5

    I have a near new crowd-spectrum analyser for sale on trade me at the moment. Its a bit faulty though but thats ok, you can easily manipulate the results

    I used it at xmas in the park last year and it said 72% of people there were drunk and couldn’t give a tinkers about xmas music. Yet people say its a family event.

    At Auckland uni last week it said 84% of students heckling Mellisa ‘ah’ Lee were drunk. Yet people listen to what they had to say.

    At the Anglican church down my street it said 12% were drunk (perhaps on god juice). Amazingly no one listens to them.

    Based on these facts i think its say to say. The root of societies illnesses can be pinned on faulty spectrum analyser’s.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    Eddie wrote:

    Funny he didn’t mind that most of the truckies in the truck strike were being paid to take part.

    I don’t know how you reached this conclusion Eddie. The large majority of truckies are owner-operators who own their own rigs. Who was paying them to take part? Have you got evidence that they were contracted by their customers to take part in the strike?

    I very much doubt that you do have that evidence.

    • calltoaccount 6.1

      If there is no evidence, it’s probably because they were freely given the goodwill to take time off to protest. That is, deliver the loads later and make the time up as you can. Money or time = goodwill, making them the same thing.

      Try doing that when you work for a wage.

    • r0b 6.2

      I very much doubt that you do have that evidence.

      Tim, you’ve said it’s OK for you to state a claim as “fact” of you think it might not be false, and you’ve gone on to tell several lies on this basis. So you have little credibility when trying to hold others to a higher standard.

  7. Brett Dale 7

    Key is right, they are rent a mob. Schools kids are being bused in and forced to take part.

    This so called protest is like the tea party protests against Obama, organized by faux news.

    Racist and sickening.

    IMHO if you want a seat at the board, how about running.

  8. Brett Dale 8

    How many NZ communist party banners among the 1500 protesters were there?

    How many No war in Iraq banners were there?

    Did that Racist Minto turn up?

    How about the communist Ken workman

    or maybe peace action NewZealand, the group that calls the Holocaust a lie?, were they there?

    I see once again the media is upsizing the crowd?

    Most initial reports were about 300 people, then they said 1500, then 3000, now 5000, by the end of the day they will report it as 15 thousand.

    • felix 8.1

      “How many NZ communist party banners among the 1500 protesters were there? How many No war in Iraq banners were there?”
      I don’t know, Brett. How many banners?

      “Most initial reports were about 300 people…”
      Where are they, Brett, these reports?

      “How about the communist Ken workman”
      Are communists not allowed to protest along with everyone else Brett? Why not?

      What about catholics? What about gypsies?

  9. burt 9

    Tim Ellis

    Eddie needs no evidence. He has apartheid on his side. Forget about appalling education outcomes, poor health and lower life expectancy for Maori A guaranteed seat on the board that is setting rates and parking fines is way more important than that stuff that requires real leadership.

  10. gingercrush 10

    There is always Idiot/Savant who is really being an idiot claiming an estimated 10, 000. Yeah right.

  11. Pat 11

    According to Stuff:

    “MPs Shane Jones and Parekura Horomia attended the march but stopped off at McDonalds before carrying on their way.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2437819/Hikoi-protesters-gather-at-Aotea-Square

    • Pat 11.1

      Maybe they thought they were in a march to campaign for the return of Georgie Pie.

  12. burt 12

    Pat

    That was probably to buy the ‘lunch vouchers’ that were promised….

  13. Tigger 13

    Key has said that effectively these people are wasting their time, the government won’t listen to them.

    But as noted in the piece, he didn’t seem to think the same with the truckies protest. In fact, he lauds it as being evidence that the goverment should rethink its policies.
    http://www.johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/420-NEWS-Labour-out-of-ideas-to-improve-economy.html

    So lesson learned: protest is only a waste of time when it’s protest for something he agrees with.

  14. gingercrush 14

    PB: A position of opposing everything about the Foreshore and Seabed bill? My whole point for those comments was the high road Eddie was taking by saying that Labour and the left were somehow above everything. He/She tried to take the position that elements of the left never attacked protests and that they always respected the right for people to protest. When on the contary, the left has decried protests many time. They were being hypocrites. National isn’t even disrespecting the right for these people to protest. Something Eddie also is claiming to happen. None of that is the case.

    In regards to how we see protests. I think both the left and right are hypocrites on the subject.

    Another reason not to have Maori seats. They don’t get out and vote. During the General Election this year. All electorates had 30, 000 voters or more come and vote in those electorates. The only ones that didn’t were the three South Auckland seats: Mangere, Manukau East, Manurewa and the Maori seats. Those seats saw voters coming out over 21, 000. As for the Maori Seats. All saw just 20, 000 or so voters come out and vote. They clearly don’t enjoy the democratic rights they have now. Why should they get anymore.

    • Anita 14.1

      Are you similarly going to argue that the South Auckland seats should be disestablished?

      • gingercrush 14.1.1

        No. And in regards to the Maori Electorate Seats their numbers can stay though I think the Maori Seats should go but that in itself is a different argument. I just don’t want to see a repeat of the next census/election where Maori try and get people to sign up to the Maori electorate roll to create another seat and then see the numbers of Maori actually voting be low.

        • Anita 14.1.1.1

          So what are you arguing? That there shouldn’t be Māori council seats in Auckland because the Māori electorates in the general election have low turnout?

          In which case, to go back to my question, are you arguing that there should be no councillors elected by South Auckland?

          Oh, and what is your issue with the Māori electoral option process? That there is an option? that there are campaigns? That Māori seats are proportionate in size to general seats?

          • gingercrush 14.1.1.1.1

            1st point – Yes
            2nd point – No
            3rd point – The way Maori Seats are designed. Its got little to do with voter turnout, rather just getting people signed on to the Maori roll. Whilst it would be unfair to remove a Maori seat. The basis for further Maori Seats in the future should be based on more than those who are signed onto the Maori electorate.

            • lprent 14.1.1.1.1.1

              On your 3rd point – why? I haven’t seen anywhere why you think the Maori roll has to be reformed.

              In theory there is no difference between a vote on the Maori roll and a vote on the general roll (except possibly for the SI maori seat). Are you suggesting that if Maori didn’t have separate voting, then their votes would become ineffective in electing Maori?

              Remember there is a decision to go on the Maori roll, and in many electorates (like Mt Albert) there are are as many people who claim Maori descent on the general roll as there are on the Maori roll. After they go on the Maori roll their potential vote is the same as any other electorate.

          • Anita 14.1.1.1.2

            1) How do you like those points together?
            2) Why not? Aren’t you being inconsistent?
            3) So people should only be represented if they vote?

        • felix 14.1.1.2

          Oh come now Anita, you know he’s got absolutely no idea what he’s arguing.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.2

      “A position of opposing everything about the Foreshore and Seabed bill?”

      Nah. they were happy enough with the crown squashing the court cases, they just didn’t think it went far enough.

      I was on that march ginger, along with many on ‘the left’.

      HC was acting like a rightwinger and appeasing the reactionary fuckwits. There are good political arguments as to why that move was the best of a set of bad options, but to turn around and say that Helen’s statements combined with Eddie’s, amount to the left in general being hypocrits is retarded. Generalities are like that, useful sometimes, but not when you claim individuals are representative of the group.

      Do you think it is fair to say, that in general, the left is more tolerant of civil disobedience and protest than the right?

      • gingercrush 14.2.1

        Isn’t Eddie claiming individuals are representative of right-wing politics? Its all the same really.

        • Pascal's bookie 14.2.1.1

          Do you think it is fair to say, that in general, the left is more tolerant of civil disobedience and protest than the right?

          (a bunch of individuals vs. Helen Clark (who was criticised from the left, by for example, me.)

          • gingercrush 14.2.1.1.1

            If it suits their politics. They’re not very tolerant when it doesn’t suit their politics.

          • Pascal's bookie 14.2.1.1.2

            Got some examples? F&S isn’t one. I’m on the left, I was on the Hikoi, righties were calling me names and telling lies about ‘beaches’. Hurtful names and dangerous race baiting lies.. HC appeased them.

          • gingercrush 14.2.1.1.3

            PB: EFA.

          • Pascal's bookie 14.2.1.1.4

            What do you mean? Be specific, or else I’ll just have to think you know you are full of shit.

  15. Nih 15

    I reacted with disgust when Key made his comment about the protest “not being the right forum” and therefore discarding anything he might have learnt from it about the people in his country.

    That’s kind of pathetic behaviour for a leader of a democratically elected government to be showing.

  16. notreallyalawyer 16

    “Haters and wreckers” that must make all the difference then, and what was it you’ve got your knickers in a twist over with Key’s comments about this Hikoi?

    • felix 16.1

      notreallyawake:

      Screaming. Which ginger has since admitted to just making up. Lying, if you will.

      But you carry right on defending him, I won’t try to slow you down.

  17. gingercrush 17

    Anita. I think the way Maori Seats are designed should place voter turnout and the number of people that sign up to the Maori roll together. Not the situation as it is today. Which goes off the census numbers and then for a specific time period, Maori can sign up to be on the Maori roll and that will decide if there are to be extra Maori Electorate Seats.

    Thus I believe any future addition to the number of Maori Seats should be based on not only how many are signed to the Maori roll but also what the voter turnout in the present Maori seats are.

    • Anita 17.1

      I don’t understand what you are suggesting!! 🙂

      [If I’ve screwed this explanation up could someone please correct me!!]

      At present both the Māori seats and the general roll seats are built together. So the census works out who lives where, and people are asked which roll they will be on.

      Then they work out how many people there are in the South Island so they can know how many people a seat needs to have (SI is guaranteed 16 general seats). Then they use how many people are on the general and Māori rolls divided down by the size of a South Island seat to figure out how many Māori and general seats there are.

      Now they now how many seats have to be in the South Island (and therefore in other islands 🙂 ) how many are Māori and how many are general, and they set off with their maps and their census data to spread the seats out so that every seat has, within reasonable tolerances, the same number of people while being a coherent shape.

      It’s a simple process which treats Māori and general roll electors the exact same way and works to give every voter the same level of influence.

      What are you suggesting they do instead?

      • gingercrush 17.1.1

        Your explanation is fine. Its me that is incoherent. What I suggest they do is have a proviso which means Maori Seats are also conditional on what the voter turnout has been in previous elections.

        • Anita 17.1.1.1

          Would you do that to general seats too?

          What is special about the Māori roll electors that they should be penalised for choosing to not vote?

          P.S. I’m glad it make sense, I have a cold so I’m not totally coherent today 🙂

        • Anita 17.1.1.2

          Oh, and it just occurred to me

          Ignoring overhangs for a moment (which we should fix by removing the threshold) the proportionality of parliament is determined entirely by the people who actually do vote. So limiting the number of Māori seats can’t affect the parliamentary power outcome in the end, all it can do is stretch the MPs even thinner and make them even less able to address the immediate issues of their constituents.

          So you are suggesting something which won’t alter the final make up of parliament, but will make the Māori population as a whole worse served by their local MPs (non-voters and voters are both supported by electorate MPs).

    • sally 17.2

      It’s everyone’s democratic right not to vote. By basing Maori seats on voter turnout, you further marginalize those that chose (for whatever reason) not to vote.

      • Anita 17.2.1

        Yep.

        One of the reasons that we base it on electoral enrolment is the being enrolled is a legal requirement, so we can be (in theory) sure we’re catching everyone and treating them all the same.

        Voting is a personal choice choosing to not vote is a valid political act.

        However, taking your more important point, many people who don’t vote take that non-action because of marginalisation. Why should we take away their representation because they are are reacting to the way they have been marginalised by the state and society?

        • Rex Widerstrom 17.2.1.1

          Voting is a personal choice choosing to not vote is a valid political act.

          While I agree (and find it hilarious that the full might of the Australian Electoral Commission is now employed putting 500,000 or so people through the courts for not bothering to vote in a referendum on daylight saving… for a maximum penalty of $20 or $50 if *gasp* they’re recidivists!) I wonder if you feel your non-vote had even the tiniest effect?

          I think people who don’t vote are assumed to be, broadly speaking, stupid, lazy, or both.

          Which is why we need a “none of the above” box on our ballot papers.

          • Anita 17.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, I have been wondering what I would do if was a Mt Albert voter. I could try to pick Cam Calder vs David Shearer on potential conscience votes (but would Cam Calder tell me?), I could try to find a teeny tiny candidate who deserves to get their deposit back (but the Alliance and Workers Party aren’t standing) or I could simply refuse to vote (but then I’d just look apathetic rather than revolted).

            “None of the above” would give me a real option.

  18. gingercrush 18

    PB: Get real. The left denigrated those who opposed the EFA constantly. Or are you trying to suggest they didn’t. You don’t believe the left didn’t belittle the protest against the EFA?

    And lets get real on another point. You think I’m full of shit anyway.

    • Tigger 18.1

      gc, I suspect Key having an opinion on the march and some people on this blog having an opinion on the march are two different things.

      I mean, we all know Key’s opinion is utterly irrelevant… 🙂

      Seriously, Key has belittled the very process of protesting here. It’s a bad look. And an odd misstep for him. I suspect he needs a good night’s sleep.

      And some Propecia…

  19. burt 19

    Remember how the anti EFB march was mocked here on the standard.
    Just in: photo from David Farrar’s march

    It was classic – very funny.

    • felix 19.1

      Yeah that was pretty funny. Do you think it highlights how the left want to deny others the right to protest?

      • burt 19.1.1

        If we are talking about that blog entry then no, – not at all.

        I do however think it highlights that both sides want to undermine any chance the other side has of being taken seriously. No surprises here.

        However if you are talking about the mega-phone shouting counter protesters that drowned out that march and skewed it’s message then yes – that was an attempt to deny others their right to protest. Wreckers and haters ….

        • felix 19.1.1.1

          Are you trying to link one with the other?

          If not, what was your point in posting the link?

          If so, ?????

          • burt 19.1.1.1.1

            I posted the link because it was funny and highlights how each side likes to take the piss. There is a bit of debate earlier in the thread about how many turned up etc and it was a reminder that both sides like to shoot the messenger when the message is not something they like to hear.

            Apart from that I was responding to your question.

            I don’t get where you are going with this felix, can you please be a bit clearer in what you were trying to achieve with your question about denying the right to protest?

          • felix 19.1.1.1.2

            There was quite a bit of talk upthread (between gc and Pb?) about whether those from the left or the right are generally more tolerant of the right of those with opposing views to protest.

            gc used the example of the anti-EFB protests (but notably failed to explain what he was talking about)

            I was just wondering if you were weighing in on that particular korero as it’s the kind of thing you like to discuss from time to time.

        • Anita 19.1.1.2

          burt,

          Are you arguing that protests are valid but counter-protests aren’t?

          • burt 19.1.1.2.1

            I think your question is overly simple;

            Protest is valid. Protest of a protest is valid. Shouting down other people who are protesting is denying them their right to be heard and when people are protesting about having their free speech shut down and a counter protest is making sure they cannot be heard…. well that’s about what you would expect from supporters of the EFA.

            I wonder how many of the people who were in the counter protest have changed their position since Labour decided the EFA was too powerful a weapon to tolerate now they are in opposition.

          • Anita 19.1.1.2.2

            I have mixed feelings about counterprotests shouting down protests. On the one hand I think protests should usually be given space to get their message across, on the other if its the actual speech of the protest the counterprotest is challenging then perhaps shouting them down is acceptable?

            So the pro- anti- s59 camps should have protested and counterprotested and allowed the other to be heard while ensuring that their alternative point of view was covered.

            OTOH if you had anti-abortionists at an abortion clinic shouting at women entering the clinic for an abortion calling them whores or saying they’d burn in hell, or whatever then I think a counter protest deliberately designed to drown out that speech would be acceptable.

            Do those cases sound reasonable?

          • burt 19.1.1.2.3

            Anita

            Your cases sound reasonable, unless of course I were an anti abortion protester in which case I would disagree.

            Stopping people from being heard when they are protesting about attacks on free speech would be like anti-abortion protesters killing pregnant woman to stop them having an abortion.

          • Anita 19.1.1.2.4

            I agree that shouting down people protesting for free speech is dodgy as 🙂

            Perhaps all I’m arguing is that when protests indulge in hate speech it is acceptable for a counterprotest to shout them down because the logical protest against hate speech is to drown it out.

          • felix 19.1.1.2.5

            The anti-abortion example is a poor one as it’s not really a public protest in the way most of the other protests we’re talking about are.

            Sure they might happen in public places but rather than having the intention of publicly demonstrating the amount of support for a point of view, they are specifically targeted at individuals going about their private lives with the intention of preventing them from carrying out a specific private act.

            I’m not making a value judgment on the relative merits of these two types of protests but for the purposes of comparison I don’t think they’re really the same sport at all.

          • Anita 19.1.1.2.6

            felix,

            I’m not sure I agree, the message of anti-abortionists who yell at women seeking abortions is intended for the wider public. While they’re hoping to alter those particular women’s choices their primary goal is to alter other women’s choices and provide a show of strength intended to alter lawmakers’ behaviour.

            But anyhow, to remove the ambiguity.

            Let’s hypothesise a protest run by a group campaigning to outlaw homosexual sex. They march chanting viciously homophobic and intimidating things, clearly promoting hatred against homosexuals and intended to make them afraid. I think it is acceptable for a counterprotest to attempt to shout them down and/or block their equally hate filled banners from public view.

            Yes?

          • felix 19.1.1.2.7

            Not really. I don’t buy the idea that you have more right to speak than those you find offensive.

  20. Relic 20

    As a veteran of many union and other political marches in Queen St since the 1970s, a useful rule rule of thumb is usually to double the NZ Herald estimate to get an accurate count. You can call a 10,000 march easily enough from the aerial shots and the ?tail? still walking after the bulk have assembled in Aotea Sq.

  21. greenfly 21

    While I’m loathe to bring it up again, Helen Clark’s comment (Haters and Wreckers) was directed at only a few key figures, those she named, and not the mass of others in taua hikoi, true or not? Key, on the other hand, has made a ‘blanket’ criticism of all of those who took part today. I would call Key’s response more foolish, despite the milder words.

  22. Paul Robeson 22

    Ummm….what’s John Key worried about? Aren’t these all people out protesting to have a cycle way put over the harbour bridge? 😉

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