Nats desperate to silence grassroots activists

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, September 28th, 2008 - 32 comments
Categories: activism, election 2008, national, same old national - Tags:

An email from a reader:

“A friend and I were putting up some Vote with Both Eyes Open posters on Lambton Quay the other night. We had just put some up around the intersection by Parliament and crossed the road when a senior National advisor came up to us with one of our recently pasted banners scrunched up in his hand. He handed it to me and said ‘one of yours, I think’. Way to stand up for free speech, National.”

If you walk down around Wellington, you will see quite a number of posters from Both Eyes Open and other groups but you’ll also notice, particularly on Lambton Quay, many corners of posters that remain where the body of the poster has been torn down. I’m told that what happens is as soon as National finds out a poster-run is happening near Parliament, they dispatch a group of Tory-boys, eager to prove their worth, to rip them down. Since people usually poster in the late evening, the Tories must be working late into the night in a desperate bid to make sure ordinary Kiwis don’t see the message when they head to work in the morning.

I just can’t understand the mentality of putting all that effort into tearing down posters. Why don’t they just put up some of their own? That would be the competition of ideas eh? That would be the exercise of free speech so vital to democracy. Maybe they just don’t have anything worth saying.

Of course, the Right has tried to silence us for generations, often employing far more brutal methods than this. But Kiwis won’t be silenced. As the popularity of the Campaign Hub shows, Kiwis are determined to have their voices heard.

32 comments on “Nats desperate to silence grassroots activists”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    hat would be the competition of ideas eh?

    They’re capitalists and capitalism has never been about competition. I’d go so far as to say that they’re afraid of it.

  2. Anita 2

    Last year when we were putting up posters about Clint Rickards it was the Council taking them down, not to mention making sure there were as few poster spots as possible *sigh*

    One of the things I find really frustrating about living in Wellington is just how much effort the Council puts into limiting public spaces and public expression, in a capital city no less.

    Grass roots activism is so important, a handful of people can put together posters about an issue like Rickards and with $10 photocopying, a packet of paste, and an hour they can get out there and make a difference. Not to mention all the awesome people who filled in our postcards and sent them in; 1 minute and the government knew they would actually have to do something.

    Any idea what it will take to rebuild grass roots movements in NZ?

  3. Go The Right 3

    The message is wrong for these posters . It should read both eyes shut and brain not engaged if you vote Labour!!

  4. Michael 4

    Posters can only go up on the designated spots – the council will rip them down in other places. If they know who put the posters up they send them an invoice for the cost. (They “Post a bill”! Ha, ha)

    Paranoia and conspiracy is Winston’s area usually – are Labour becoming more like him?

  5. bill brown 5

    Looks like there’s a concerted effort on the Shore for all Labour boards to be knocked down.

    There are some pretty scared rightards out there.

  6. The most hypocritical post in the history of the internet. You guys get a giggle out of ripping down or the vandalism of posters that you don’t agree with it, but when it happens to you, you scream “Free Speech”

    Well here is a message for all members of the standard, to the Greens to the Unions to the anti Police Protesters, to anyone really, Free Speech Applies to everybody, and if you dont like your posters to be vandalize dont it to others.

  7. Tamaki resident 7

    Not just on the Shore Bill – in the Eastern suburbs it’s the same pattern – Labour billboards knocked down, National’s and Act’s left standing.

  8. Anita 8

    Michael,

    Posters can only go up on the designated spots

    That is part of my complaint about WCC, there are way too few designated spots. If WCC was committed to being a vibrant inclusive participatory democratic city it would have far more spots for people to put up posters.

  9. randal 9

    Hey Anita they just another venal grubby lot of local body upstarts looking for the main chance. all that vibrancy bullshit is just some crap some pr agency sold them….batteries not included!

  10. Anita 10

    randal,

    Yeah I know 🙁

  11. marco 11

    Ironically on Shore Road in Auckland its Nationals Placards that are getting a pounding. Labour and Acts are still standing but each day Richard Worths placards are torn down and de-faced. The man couldnt possibly be more boring, so perhaps it his way of getting a point of difference across to the voters in the area.

  12. Michael it may be true that the council will take down posters but that’s not what’s happening. I’m told posters are disappearing the night they are put up and it’s only anti-National posters that disappear.. There are those ‘to animals we’re all Nazis’ posters that have been left undisturbed on lamp posts for weeks.

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    Tamaki resident said:

    Not just on the Shore Bill – in the Eastern suburbs it’s the same pattern – Labour billboards knocked down, National’s and Act’s left standing.

    I can report from Auckland Central that all parties’ billboards seem to get attacked. Nikki Kaye’s hoardings are knocked down pretty much the same time as the MP’s. Kaye’s hoardings seem to have her face cut out as well as knocked over. There doesn’t seem to be any political pattern to the hoardings destruction, they’re all knocked over evenly.

    I have noticed that when Kaye’s hoardings are knocked over they are erected again the next day, while Judith Tizard’s hoardings are often down for up to a week at a time. If you’re driving past and see a Tizard sign has been knocked over but a Kaye hoarding standing, it is probably because the Kaye sign has been knocked over but somebody’s come and put it up again. This probably means that Kaye has a much more active and organised team working on repairing hoardings.

  14. weka 14

    The message is wrong for these posters . It should read both eyes shut and brain not engaged if you vote Labour!!

    Yeah, so vote Green instead 😀

    Anita, I’m interested too in what it will take to rebuild grassroots movements in NZ. They’re still there, but not as visible or connected as in the past perhaps?

    I find the Both Eyes campaign inspiring.

  15. Monty 15

    I am pround to say that I phone the council and reported the vandalism to the WCC – I am sick of the city i am pround of being defaced by taggers and people puting up illegal posters. I am pleased that WCC is onto the case – but if I continue to see illegally pasted posted (helpfully with a authorisation)_ I will raise the issue witht he Council again.
    For all your efforts it is not working – I see the Nats onthe TV3 poll are still polling sp strongly that they will be able to have absolute majority come 9 November 2008

    So stick up your posters illegally and I will take much joy in ringing the council about the vandalism and as a conserned citizen I will be demanding that an invoice be sent to the offender. (followed by debt collection)

  16. Monty 16

    In respect of legal billboards, the left are out there damaging them as much as any. On my Mum’s fence is the Billboard for the local National MP (or he will be in 6 weeks) over the weekend, this was cut up and vandalised – no doubt by some leftie scum.

    If posters or Billboards are put up legally and in authorised places then they need to be left alone – And the message needs to be sent from high on both sides that this is the case. But from What i see the left are as bad as nay (if not worse) at damaging billboards of the opposition. But then I would expect that from the left.

  17. jaymam 17

    marco, wrong. All party billboards are being knocked down, but Labour and ACT are the quickest to get them up again.
    The billboards are being knocked down by gangs of two to eight teenagers. I have seen videos of all of them. The police do not think it’s important to catch them, even though they do other vandalism as well. The police can shortly expect a visit from some MPs.

  18. randal 18

    monty I am so proud that you are so proud of having the tightest underpants in new zeaalnd poltics. be careful though because they can cut of the flow of blood to the head!

  19. Disengaged 19

    Judging by the number of destroyed/defaced for sale signs, open home signs and the like I see around at other times in the year I am guessing that the election hording period is a boon to vandals/bored people rather than a detirmined plot to undermine democracy.

    Around my area at least the destruction seems pretty bi-partisan in nature. The National billboard was graffitied within half an hour of it going up and both it and the Labour one where knocked over and broken that night. I did notice though that the National one was back up a day before the Labour one was replaced.

  20. jaymam 20

    Here you go marco, some vandalised billboards I’ve photographed in my walks around Epsom.
    The Greens have also been targetted by the rampaging teens. Jim’s billboards are too new. Nobody else has billboards up in Epsom.
    The vandals have lately taken a delight in breaking the plywood and supporting posts in half.

    http://i37.tinypic.com/ifqvia.jpg

  21. randal 21

    in this post modern world deconstruction is the in thing…chortle chortle chortle.

  22. Tara 22

    Someone ripped down Annette King’s billboard in Kilbirnie two days ago ..

  23. Tara 23

    One more point: with the looming economic crisis, the stakes have gotten higher for entrenched interests. Problems associated with sub-prime mortgages in the US have ultimately led to well publicised collapses of financial institutions which – associated with increasing resource scarcity – is leading to global economic slump. Sub-prime was merely the first wave. Next come adjustable-rate, Alt-A and prime mortgages, resets not finishing until 2011 .. with further downstream financial mayhem. Think of a slump lasting a decade or two.

    It should be no surprise people are worried, or that Key and Turnbull – with similar backgrounds – now lead the conservative parties in Australasia.

    In Sydney some security firms have taken to wearing black shirts. Think Italian Fascisti ..

  24. Felix 24

    “in this post modern world deconstruction is the in thing chortle chortle chortle.”

    Shouldn’t we be seeing plain plywood billboards with all the screws exposed?

  25. sean 25

    Some long haired dude was handing these (the Bill English ones) out at the Wellington train station a couple of weeks back – I don’t mind positive stuff like what the Greens are doing, but these are just sleazy, gutter based leaflets. It honestly makes Labour look pathetic.

    Why don’t these people try and run a positive campaign? Are there so few positives or is it that these guys are just so damn scared that National might get in?

    Anyway, once I realised what it was I screwed it up into a ball and threw it at the loser and it hit him in the back.

  26. Jeeves 26

    Jeeves works late sometimes and always pulls down anti-National posters that are not on the designated poster spots. Frankly I hope that the council bills Mr Carter (who authorised the posters) for the cost of cleaning them up. I don’t want my rates subsidising the “friends of Labour” campaign.

    Steve is probably right that only the anti-National ones disappear. So what? I have no problem with animal rights activists. I like animals. I also like to eat animals, but I prefer to eat the ones that have been treated well. However I do not like socialists, so I pull their posters down. It’s not a conspiracy – if you put your posters somewhere they’re not allowed to be – you’re fair game. The only issue is that more people seem to dislike socialists than animal rights activists.

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    Anyway, once I realised what it was I screwed it up into a ball and threw it at the loser and it hit him in the back.

    Man, that would have showed him! You rebel. Jeez. Did you get it on tape? That would crack a million views on youtube in hours. “Guy gets small ball of paper to the back”. Awesome.

    ‘Why don’t they run a positive campaign?’ Why don’t you ask them?

    Are you running any form of positive campaign, Sean? If not, you aren’t in a position to complain about someone else’s campaign.

  28. sean 28

    MP, I’m not trying to get elected – why do I need to run a campaign?

    I’m voting for a party that believes in personal responsibility and working hard to get ahead. I love how they run a positive campaign whereas Labour and NZ First have based theirs on petty schoolyard politics by trying to discredit the opposition. No-one ever told them about throwing stones in glasshouses…..

    Additionally its pretty obvious that if the welfare net keeps increasing at the current rate our country is headed for oblivion – so the current Labour party wouldn’t get my vote as I don’t want to have to leave NZ just yet.

    So why can’t Labour run a positive campaign then? I don’t have a clue – maybe you could tell me? If they have been so great for NZ, surely they shouldn’t need to resort to being bullies?

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Vote With Both Eyes Open is not trying to get elected either, but they are getting active. I’m merely saying it’s easy enough to sit on the sidelines and moan about someone else’s work, but if you’re not going to do the same thenyour complaints count for little.

    I’ll assume you’re not voting for National then, Kiwi party maybe? National’s campaign isn’t positive in the slightest.

    What is positive about having a cry everytime your opposition challenges you, and crying ‘foul’ while blatantly lying about ‘dirty tactics’ (a cheap dirty tactic in of itself, which is working as evidenced by people such as yourself), when they are nothing of the sort?

    National’s billboards – what’s positive about them? People are failing NCEA, leaving the country and dying, apparently.

    What is positive about releasing policy on a Sunday night, without and form of publicity, so that it is largely ignored?

    Labour, just quietly, aren’t being ‘bullies’. That’s a pathetic assertion, Sean. Clark told Key that he needs to harden up, and that he can expect a bit of scrutiny when going for a powerful Public position. Maybe you need to do the same. Labour also haven’t started their campaign as such, unlike National, which has a series of negative attack billboards expensively located around the country.

    You need to question what the media and National tell you sean, it’s clear you’re not doing that at present. Take some personal responsibility for what you believe, Sean, or you might look like you’ll believe whatever you’re told without question.

    Especially when you feel like fictitiously stating something is ‘pretty obvious’…

  30. sean 30

    Thanks Dad =)

    The difference for me is Labour are focusing on attacking National with personal attacks, whereas National are attacking policies. Something about hating the game not the player rings true…..

    Releasing policy on a Sunday afternoon gives it enough time to make the Monday morning papers.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    I thought Labour had no policy! Well that’s the official line from the Right – maybe you aren’t a blind follower after all…

    Labour have certainly attacked National policy, where it is to be found. Uusually focussing on the lack of detail, lack of costings, or the fact that many are a page of weak bullet-points. Scoop has press releases, and newspaper stories generally carry a quote or two.

    Releasing policy on a Sunday afternoon gives it enough time to make the Monday morning papers.

    Of course, Sean, but if National was running a positive and ambitious campaign, they wouldn’t be trying to hide their policy releases from the public as much as possible.

  32. Buying a hammer and some nails and some wood tommorrow to keep the greens and labour signs around my area up to scratch. If any one wants to foward me the locations of them around canterbury univerisity and riccarton that woudl be great!

    In regards to the ones in wellington, you could baby sit ones right beside parliament till the glues dried, leaning up beside what ever it is youve stuck it on. with someone else near by with a camera. An assult charge for a national party camapigner woudln’t look great.

    Or you coudl sink to the level of one of the national campaigners down here (real vandalisation) and start painting the foot path with anti labour slogans in house paint.

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