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.