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Parliament protests and the road to splintered societies

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, February 13th, 2022 - 68 comments
Categories: covid-19, vaccines - Tags: , ,

Day six of the Freedom/anti-mandate occupation of Parliament grounds (maps at bottom of post for those that don’t know Wellington).

I’m going to say three things things up front,

  • I’m impressed that they are still there. In part because they’ve defied expectations and managed something the left hasn’t for quite some time; because they stayed during the storm last night; and increasingly because it pushes the left to understand that we don’t get to say protest is legitimate only if we agree with it.
  • This is a complex situation that isn’t particularly well understood by the mainstream from what I can see.
  • I’ve wondered for days now why this isn’t climate activists out the front of parliament demanding action.

Micky has a post up from a conventional left wing perspective, The right to protest, worth a read for both an explanation of some of the problems with the protest, but also to see the left’s particular slant. In my post I want to look at the legitimacy of the protest, and some of the meta issues.

I’m double vaccinated, I generally support the government’s pandemic response while also seeing its flaws. I haven’t been particularly negatively affected by the response or covid but many of the issues that have affected people in the past two years have been regular companions over my adult life as a long term disabled person on a benefit.

I’m not anti-vax (I believe that people should be free to make choices vaccine by vaccine). I don’t believe that vaccines have no side effects (all pharmaceuticals do, sometimes seriously). I strongly believe that people shouldn’t be coerced into medical treatment of any kind, and yet I see the covid vaccine mandates as a necessary evil in late 2020 to get New Zealand’s vax rate high enough to give us the kind of protection we needed to remain relatively free of covid-19.

Going into our first big covid wave via omicron is not the time to remove the mandates. We should be looking after the people worst affected by them, and we haven’t been. Unvaccinated people in New Zealand have been treated badly including by ridicule, ostracisation and gaslighting, and the current occupation is just one of the chickens coming home to roost from that. I disagree with much of the demands from the Convoy protest.

For thirty five years I have been in and around new age, alt health, and hippy counter cultures. I have friends that are anti-vax, non-vax, vax hesitant, and/or anti-mandate, and who are normal parts of my community where they contribute just like everyone else. They’re not nutters and they’re not aligned with white supremacists. They tend towards libertarian but are generally apolitical, often politically naive, and those that vote generally vote on the left.

Saying all that because I want us to get past the binary. I see a lot to criticise about the convoy protest, but I also see legitimate concerns and understanding the people involved helps resolve the contradictions. On the ground this morning,

My main problem with the occupation at Parliament is the serious risk to the wider community from a potential super spreader event. Wellington, but also the whole country when the protestors eventually return home.

Beyond that, they are have a right to be there. If this was a climate protest or indigenous occupation, I’d be cheering them on. That some on the left have objected to their presence points clearly to the problem the left has with dissent in a democracy. It’s hugely problematic for the left to be saying it’s ok to protest so long as we agree with you.

There are however some other significant problems with the protest, and our task here is to reconcile those with the right to protest.

One issue is the connections with the far right. I highly recommend reading all of this Special Report by Marc Daalder at Newsroom yesterday morning, ‘Splintered realities’: How NZ convoy lost its way. Daalder looks at what happened online in the build up to the Convoy, how it was infiltrated by the far right, and how there are competing, splintered realities. Note here it’s not just the protestors that are splintered,

As the occupation stretches into its fifth day, it is now being seen in starkly different ways by extremists on the ground, by a more moderate anti-mandate minority and by the general New Zealand public.

“There’s something going on here that’s actually quite disturbing, in terms of splintered realities and lack of a shared narrative,” Sanjana Hattotuwa, who monitors extremism and misinformation in New Zealand for Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Disinformation Project, told Newsroom.

While police are now managing the physical event on the ground, the battles being fought over narrative online threaten to further fray New Zealand’s social fabric, he warned.

“Chantelle Baker is, with five videos, generating more video views than 73 videos put out by NZ Herald in the same 24-hour period. There are dynamics here that are unprecedented. You are talking about a small misinfo/disinfo community who are pushing out real-time footage and coverage and framing about something that is happening that is fundamentally different to what the mainstream media is putting out.

That alone should be sounding an alarm bell for us to pay attention. And this,

These splintered realities risk setting us on the course towards splintered societies, Hattotuwa said.

“There are three different ways the convoy is being perceived and I cannot stress that enough. There is nothing that remotely connects what Counterspin is putting out about the convoy, in real time, to what the convoy’s chatter on Zello is, like for example at the start of Thursday. It’s totally disconnected.

“This is hitting, hard, social cohesion right now. It’s a very sophisticated playbook. It is not original because it has been played out in developing countries like mine and also on both sides of the Atlantic, but here, it’s playing out right now.”

It’s been clear for a long time that progressives are losing this battle, so maybe now would be the time to stop and think about whether ostracisation and pushing people into the arms of the far right is a good strategy.

Read also Charlie Mitchell’s piece at Stuff, Inside the disorienting, contradictory swirl of the convoy, as seen through its media mouthpiece, that looks at the disparate nature of the protest,

From the beginning, it was clear the protest’s loudest advocates would have to hold two contradictory thoughts in their heads: It would be a peaceful and non-violent expression of people power that would stop the sinister figures they believed were deserving of the harshest punishments imaginable.

While some joined the protest thinking they were making a peaceful stand, or objecting to specific laws, others saw their role as more active; to enforce the arrest of politicians.

Counterspin had been arguing for a complete occupation, a “dig in”, as Alp described it. “If people want a nice, peaceful end where the streets are not going to run red, you better get off your ass and join that convoy, go to Parliament, and stand them down,” he said during an earlier interview with a guest on the first day.

This has since become the central dissonance of the protest; peaceful in action, aggressive in rhetoric, with no acknowledgement that the latter may undermine the former.

The former broadcaster Liz Gunn gave a speech in which she called for “aroha” – “we will win with love over evil,” she said. She was standing next to John Ansell, the former ad-man, who was holding a sign comparing Jacinda Ardern to the terrorist who perpetrated 51 murders at two Christchurch mosques.

It is an uncomfortable, and confounding, thing to watch; calls for peace, next to a blown up image of a terrorist.

If somewhere in there there are legitimate concerns about the mandates and goverment overreach (and I think there are), much of this looks like political naivety on the part of the people not intent on violence. From the start of the pandemic, the various protest movements have been on a steep learning curve about messaging, cohesion, co-option, grifting, conflicts of ideas, and tactics. I hope the big one they learn this time is discernment and then how to organise.

The other serious problem is the death threats and presence of nooses, along with the harassment of journalists and people on the streets of nearby Wellington for wearing masks. The question I have is: who is doing these things? We know it’s the ‘protesters’, but which ones? I’m also not the only one wondering what the hippy aunties or mothers with kids onsite make of the abuse and push towards violence [link]. The mainstream narrative is that it’s the far right in control, the narrative from the supporters is that it’s the people wanting peaceful protest. I can’t tell from moment to moment.

One of the things I realised a few days ago is that I wasn’t actually following anyone who was posting a lot of content from the protest site. I was reliant on MSM coverage, which has an obvious mainstream perspective. This is what happened with Ihumātao, where the gap between the two stories was wide and the only way to understanding the protest side in the moment was to follow them on social media.

Once I started looking for specific content this week, I found a fair bit showing quite a different protest from the Nazi slogan/death threat/chaos that was presented by MSM in the first days.

I also think there’s been a progression over the days of the protest about which disparate group is having influence, and that it’s hard to track that because of the large cultural gap between the protestors and the rest of society.

This morning the blokes are up on the barricades puffing their chests at the police. I’m guessing these are the ones that survived the storm overnight.

What I’m seeing in addition to the problems, and which pleases me a lot, is a kind of social cohesion despite all that. Obviously they’re well organised at the practical level. There’s been an effort after the first few days that ended in arrests to keep the protest focused on peaceful actions. People singing and dancing is a good sign. This points to the main thing being missed in the mainstream and left wing narratives: that underlying the politics people want to belong and they want to connect.

In fact I see a kind of working together not just in this protest but more widely from the people being pushed out of society during the pandemic, and this is exactly the kind of community building that we are going to need to get us through the next decades of climate/eco upheaval and other crises. It’s the antithesis of the neoliberal focus on economy over communities. I doubt it will be enough, but it’s something the left should be doing, and by and large we’re not at scale nor is it a main focus.

Photo by Ross Giblin/Stuff

There’s a tendency on the left to think that if someone believes for instance that vaccines are dangerous, then everything else about their beliefs and politics is suspect. This is how fracturing happens. We are getting worse at working together across difference just at the time we need it most. This movement is incredibly challenging, because many of the belief systems have no evidence base and do seem completely bonkers.

But the needs and desires of the protestors aren’t hard to understand when we stop and talk with them. Here I don’t mean the people posting Nazi symbols or trying to arrest Andrew Little, I mean the larger number of people who left home and rallied because they feel deeply that there is something wrong with how things are going. At the moment the protestors are going their own way, and this alone makes sense. Maybe it’s time to accept that people cannot be ostracised, ridiculed and gaslighted into submission. They clearly don’t care what we or the MSM think of them, and they’re not going to to away.

This protest will end, and those people will go back to all of our communities. We should be building bridges and calling in those that we can as a matter of urgency, because at the moment the people telling them they belong are the far right. Is that what we really want?


68 comments on “Parliament protests and the road to splintered societies ”

  1. weka 1

    • McFlock 1.1

      er – when I slept in the Registry building for a couple of weeks, I knew I was trespassing. We all did. We all knew the hammer could drop at any time.

      Occupation is a legit form of protest.

      But most of the time, it involves trespassing in too great a number for the "lawful" owner or occupier to do anything about it.

      • weka 1.1.1

        I took trespassing in public spaces to be if you are told to leave.

        • weka

          I assume that parliament grounds aren't locked at night, so someone going and standing there for three hours in the middle of the night isn't trespassing. At what point does it become trespass? Length of time? Brings a chair? Brings a tent? Gets a letter from Mallard?

          • McFlock

            Gets an instruction to leave from the lawful owner or occupier or their representative. E.g. parliament security or police acting on the request of the lawful owner or occupier.

        • McFlock

          They were, weren't they?

          Occupy Dunedin were.

          • weka

            Well the mandate protest was told to leave, but are all such protests? Probably. I think it's a rather abstract argument, because the trespassing doesn't make the protest illegitimate.

            Mind you, I've seen people upset about the fucking parliament lawns.

            • Andrew Miller

              What do you mean by ‘legitimate’ here, the right to protest or your sympathy with the protesters aims?
              If it’s the first, are you comfortable with any and all protests setting up camp?

              If it’s the later, you appear to suggesting we apply laws differently based upon whether you happen to have sympathy with protesters.
              Surely you can see the problem with that?

              • weka

                If it’s the later, you appear to suggesting we apply laws differently based upon whether you happen to have sympathy with protesters.
                Surely you can see the problem with that?

                Did you actually read the post? Because much of it is based on the premise that protest is legitimate (right to protest) irrespective of whether lefties agree with the purpose or not.

                No, I wouldn't feel comfortable with all protest. If a group was there that was advocating removing the votes from Māori for instance, I'd be 'uncomfortable'. It’s worth having a debate about where the line if for legitimacy and I suspect it’s based in the context of human rights and anti-discrimination law.

                • Andrew Miller

                  Where has anyone suggested they don’t have a right to protest?
                  It’s not the same thing as saying they have a right to protest in a manner that means the law doesn’t apply to them or they can choose the method free of any consequences.
                  Your position seems very confused.
                  If everyone has the right to protest, then does that include everyone also having the right to occupy parliaments grounds and refusing to leave?

                  Also, civil disobedience has obviously been an important part of protest movements, but the moral authority for that has always rested on the acceptance of the consequences ie you occupy somewhere, you refuse to leave you should expect to be arrested or physically removed.

                  • weka

                    Where has anyone suggested they don’t have a right to protest?

                    All over the internet in the past week lefties have been saying that the protest is wrong, not just in aims, but in its existence. eg they should go home.

                    I've been saying criticise the shitty behaviour and uphold the right to protest. This is a challenge for some who see the protest itself as wrong because of their own beliefs about the aims.

                    If everyone has the right to protest, then does that include everyone also having the right to occupy parliaments grounds and refusing to leave?

                    Yes. And as you point that, in addition to that are questions of moral authority.

                    • Andrew Miller

                      If you can’t see the absurdity of the rabbit hole you seem willing to go down then I don’t know what.
                      You don’t appear to be also arguing for that fact their right to refuse to leave should come with expectation of being arrested, then ethical and social contact arguments asides, the simple practicalities are laughable.
                      What is say a (hypothetical) protest against child poverty planned for tomorrow supposed to do, they too have the right to protest, to be heard outside parliament (indeed to pitch tents and occupy as well apparently). How long is any occupation legitimate? First protest in gets dibs, anyone else just waits?
                      Parliament grounds is a public space, it has a playground for goodnesses sake.
                      Also, it’s all very well calling out the shitty behaviour but if your argument is that this FORM of protest is legitimate then it’s obvious that odious people will grab the chance to disrupt life in central Wellington. (Aside from the fact you’ve chosen to downplay the extent to which this occupation has been hijacked by people with whom we should no sympathy).
                      Expression of our rights come with reasonable limitations so as not to impinge on rights of others, or the normal workings of society. Surely that is obvious.

                    • weka

                      honestly, I don't actually know what you are on about. Why don't you just say what you think instead of asking all these round about questions?

                      Of course people should expect to be arrested if they're trespassed and don't leave. That was so obvious I didn't feel the need to saying anything more.

                    • weka

                      you'll probably get further if you stop trying to put words in my mouth. If you don't know what I think ask for clarification directly.

                      Making a declaratory statement of 'you don't appear…' is not clarifying. It's taking one's assumptions and running with them.

                    • Andrew Miller []

                      If others are able to make something coherent and practical and gleem what you think should happen right now or in similar circumstances in the future from this incoherent mis mash then good luck to them.
                      The best I can manage is you appear to want to hold a lot of contradictory positions all at once but haven’t really thought through the implications of any of them.;

                    • weka []

                      yes, I can hold contradictory positions at the same time, it’s a skill. It supports nuance, and opens up the door to more solutions.

            • McFlock

              Oh, they'll need to be returfed – I suspect with a little irony.

              It's legitimate protest, sure, but it's still trespassing. Breaking their rules and disrupting their control is part of many legitimate protests. It often involves a wee bit of lawbreaking, and trespass is often the first law broken (alongside obstruction).

    • Andrew Miller 1.2

      “but it's a slippery slope when we say all occupations are trespassing”

      Aside from the fact, that by definition they are, this is pretty much ‘If I kind of agree with the protesters the law should be bendable, if I don’t it gets strictly applied’.

      Utterly ridiculous!

  2. Joe90 2

    Who's paying?

  3. Cricklewood 3

    Good post, nice to see an alternate view.

    Imagine if climate protestors turn up at some stage in the future and planted that lawn up with 1000s of natives 🙃 after all manicured lawns aren't exactly good for the environment…

  4. roy cartland 4

    I agree that the MSM is doing no favours. I have the live stream on at work, and at times there were a few people wearing masks inside the camp. No one's haranguing them. No one even cares.

    Critics' say 'they', meaning by extension all of them, support the harassment and violence: not so. We've all been on protests where there are boofheads and 'nutters', but I've always seen them as tag-alongs.

    Maybe it morphed to a more understandable, coherent demonstration when the arrests were made and the leaders reportedly ran away (sorry mods, still trying find link for where I read that)?

    • roy cartland 4.1

      And it the pendulum may well swing back to the Bannon-style, conspiracy stuff, who knows.

      • weka 4.1.1

        feels still volatile to me, this protest and the wider movement.

        • roy cartland

          Yes, I see the Canadian flag has gone up. The camp's flagpoles are now as tall as the Parl ones.

          • Shanreagh

            By my reckoning they are using the Parliament flagpoles to fly their own flags……presumably these ones are Ok with the authorities. Thats Ok and pretty tolerant of the authorities.

            May not have been able to fly the Confederate flag or the Gadsden flags or the NZ flag upside down all of which I have seen at the protest.

        • Shanreagh

          Yes me too, but that is probably knowing the backgrounds of the heavy bad actors who are there. Hopefully sane and moderate voices will rise up.

          They have a list of demands. On Mickey's thread. I am sure that if there is a face to face the security of those parliamentarians taking place will be taken very seriously bearing in mind the various threats & agendas.

          In Union negotiations we had procedures and would never, for instance have put the most senior of our party up and would have been agog if the employers had put their most senior person up first up. So they are dreaming if they think they are going to talk face to face with the PM and tell her how cruel she is.

          Hope for the Govt that they have their very best negotiators on the job. For instance Govt cannot and should not get involved in the disciplinary work done by the Medical Council as they deal with Drs who are/have been providing misinformation. To have included this actually blows out the protestors rhetoric that the protest is anti mandate only. (Not that anyone really believed this after seeing Mr 99.6% parading up and down in the previous days and the Jabcinda signs.

          • weka

            tbh, I haven't taken much notice of the demands. Some of the stuff being reported is daft, some of it as you say just too far outside of the political process to get respect. This is what I mean by political naivety and inexperience. I hope that the people who are there with genuine concern learn some things. I don't expect the PM to front up to someone wanting to arrest Andrew Little (and seemingly intent on harming people). I also don't expect any MP to come onto the steps after death threats have been made.

            I don't know what's been happening with speeches and such today. Who is actually running things atm? I assume that the far right are going hard online.

            • weka

              one of the clear challenges is how to talk to people with genuine concerns and explain the issues of working with the far and alt right. I have at least one friend who can't really have that conversation because she doesn't trust the left and just reacts to any mention that her culture/movement is somehow off kilter ethically. I don't think of her as right wing, but she's not impressed by Labour at all.

    • weka 4.2

      I basically can't follow what is happening. I also say a report that one of the main organisers walked off after it was clear there were people that wanted a show down. But I can't tell who is there doing what each morning or afternoon in terms of speakers.

      What livestream are you using?

      • roy cartland 4.2.1

        The RNZ one at first, which then became an embed of a Youtube one, now the one on Stuff.

  5. weka 5

    Bryce Edwards just quietly documenting some of the missing bits.

  6. weka 6

    This guy talking about mental health, and people helping each other.

  7. weka 7

    NZH live stream,

  8. tsmithfield 8

    A fair, balanced post Weka.

  9. roy cartland 9

    Among all the flags, someone's waving a really cool 'eye of the taniwha', red, black, green and white (same colours as Palestine, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain etc). Anyone know it? I'll try and screenshot it…

    Palestine flag there too, whatever that's trying to symbolise.

  10. I’ve often said I agree with weka, but now I have to slightly disagree with her, though I still think she's one of the wisest posters on The Standard.

    I can understand her post is an attempt to see both side of a pretty dismal picture.

    But . . . I’ve been on many protests, from the 1979 anti South African softball tour, through 1981, climate change protests and anti TTPA protests.

    In every event, a good justifiable case could be made for the protest.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see this in the Convoy protest – except a nebulous anti-Labour government thingy. On none of the protests I’ve ever been on have even the fringe called for hangings and so on.

    Jacinda called for a team effort to beat covid. The vast majority of us responded by doing the correct things – getting vaccinated, wearing masks, downloading the tracer app and so on.

    But a small fraction of our society thought they knew better/were above the science, or simply got swallowed up by conspiracy bullshit.

    Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t see a hell of a lot of anything good in their futile and meaningless protest.

    • weka 10.1

      here are two things that any leftie should be able to support or at least empathise with,

      • someone losing their job
      • someone's health being negatively affected by medical treatment

      the only rationale I can see for not having empathy or supporting their rights, is if one believes that the vaccine has no side effects and everyone should want to be vaccinated. This is an untenable political position, based on evidence for the side effects issues, and wanting to avoid totalitarianism on the beliefs issue.

      It's one thing to say that on balance the mandates do more good than harm, it's another altogether to deny the harm done.

      With regards to the post, I'm not saying the aims are worthy and I'm definitely not comparing the righteousness to actions like the Anti-Tour movement. What I am saying is that the right to protest exists and should be upheld by lefties even if we disagree with the cause.

      I'm also saying that some, not all, of the people in the protest have legitimate concerns. If liberals in NZ has taken care of people losing their jobs or needing vax exemptions, we might be in a different situation.

      I'm also saying that the protest is a complex mix of people, values, aims and behvaiours and we're not understanding this well atm.

      • I wonder, in reply, if I can say that all the protests I went on (and thinking about it I can even go back to the Save Manapouri campaign – too long ago to recall the date!)

        were not about me! This amorphous mob in Wellington seems to put the 'me' first.

        Maybe that's why I think they're so very misguided.

        • weka

          the people with concerns about child vaccination aren't thinking about the me, they're thinking about children everywhere.

          likewise the mandates, hence the presence of vaccinated people with passes.

        • Blade

          Probably 70 -71. I was there both years. Some protester had sprayed red paint roughly 20 feet up a stand of trees to show where the water could rise to.

      • Darren 10.1.3

        Long time watcher, first time poster.

        Can I just say, this comment, as well as your post, sums up my position.

        We have some people in society that have been badly affected by all of this, and the decision to tell them to suck it up and not listen to their concerns – goes against what I consider is basic humanity. Not everyone there is a Trump supporter or Destiny's Church soldier, but those elements are indeed there, and part of the trouble being created.

        I think though that the Speaker has, by his actions, made the situation much worse. The weather had challenged some, and seen some leave, but his actions have, from my observation, increased the resolve of many, and many people in the wider community have discovered their own humanity that has sometimes been lost during recent times and provided support as a result. The protest area has now spread wider and more will now find it inconvenient.

        I don't know how it will end up – nor have I a solution how to now fix it – but sadly I think it's only going to be a bigger mess this week, and as it grows, attract more from the fringe and sadly end up in a bigger and faster confrontation. I truly hope to be proved wrong.

        Again, Weka, thank you for giving a voice to the conundrum that I, and I believe that others are currently facing.

        • weka

          Cheers Darren. It's not easy stuff. I don't understand Mallard's thinking and hope there's more to it than the superficial stupid it looks like. I also think he gave them even more of a sense of purpose and they rose to the occassion.

      • Andrew Miller 10.1.4

        “the only rationale I can see for not having empathy or supporting their rights, is if one believes that the vaccine has no side effects and everyone should want to be vaccinated”

        One can have empathy on a personal level for the ramifications of all sorts of poor choices people make, however…
        No, one can acknowledge the obvious reality that their choice not to be vaccinated doesn’t only affect them.

        You argument only makes sense if you believe that the choices of anti vaxxers may only impact themselves.
        Their rights don’t exist in isolation of the rights of others.
        What about the rights of those in their work place unable to be vaccinated for health reasons. Are they excepted to put themselves at additional risk by having to share a work space with the unvaccinated?
        What would happen if employees all felt the presence of people who refuse to be vaccinated or follow reasonable COVID precautions made their work place unsafe?

        • weka

          you appear to have missed my point. I'm not saying that lefties should support anti-mandate. I'm saying that if we have a mandate and someone loses their job because they choose not to be vaccinated, we should support that person eg help them find other work and/or retrain, give them a decent benefit to live on while they're doing that, help them with the mental stress and so on. To mandate job loss and then say, fuck off, is against left principles. But we do see an increasing tendency among liberals to see having enough income or having an occupation as expendable. Still not left wing.

          • Andrew Miller

            Fine, to a point but it’s also not left wing to treat adults like children devoid of agency.
            If people lose their jobs by virtue of their own poor choices no you don’t abandon them, but in any other circumstances you would expect them to try and address the behaviour that lead to them losing their job or lead to them being effectively unemployable.
            What happens if it’s not merely a refusal to be vaccinated but a refusal to follow any other reasonable hygiene based COVID protocols?
            Also, it’s possible to have empathy with all that and still believe the manner they’ve chosen to express themselves isn’t ok and the law should be enforced if for no other reason than anyone of any political stripe with a grievance can decide their protest is ‘legitimate’ and the laws should work differently for them.
            The right to protest (and any limit on that) can’t be down to whether I or anyone else happens to empathise with their plight.

            • weka

              Fine, to a point but it’s also not left wing to treat adults like children devoid of agency.

              Just as well I didn't argue that then.

              If people lose their jobs by virtue of their own poor choices no you don’t abandon them, but in any other circumstances you would expect them to try and address the behaviour that lead to them losing their job or lead to them being effectively unemployable.

              Address what behaviour, and in what way?

        • Philip Banks

          The argument that the unvaccinated are being selfish is one that cuts both ways. By forcing people to be vaccinated you are just as much asking other people to be exposed to risk and harm – we have had at least one death from the vaccine in NZ plus there are hundreds of recognised adverse reactions on the ACC books.

          Don't kid yourselves that you aren't equally asking for a tithe of blood and mayhem.

          The relative risk levels for either choice naturally are different but one of the reasons we have a doctrine of informed consent and the right to refuse a procedure is so people can assess their own risk level and make that choice.

  11. ghostwhowalksnzFor 6 days 11

    Very good background story on NZ protests from the US NBC News…. a few months back but still relevant

    As is typical in US they name names which are often skirted around by NZ reports


  12. barry 12

    I work there, and have been going past them every day. I even walked through the camp (wearing a mask). There is hostility there, and some people are not at all peaceful, but most look the same as any other protest I have been on.

    The 3 things that are VERY different are

    1. The violent imagery and rhetoric. Threatening to execute pollies and journos is not on, and is new.

    2. the obvious trumpian/counterspin influence. People who are going there concerned about mandates are being radicalised.

    3. The lies that they are telling each other and everyone else. They may believe them, but that doesn't make them true. And because their reality is so different from everybody else's it is impossible to have a reasoned discussion.

  13. mickysavage 13

    Good post Weka. I wrote my at least in part in sorrow. I agree we need to keep reviewing our views and the situation is complex. I am really worried about the trumpism element of the protest and Kevyn Alp's involvement is deeply concerning.

    But yeah there are ordinary kiwis there thinking they are doing good.


    • weka 13.1

      I find Alp's involvement really concerning too, as with Counterspin, and the Bannon stuff in the background. I'm sure you found it the same, hard to write about because there is so much going on. Looking at the right wing stuff was too hard apart from linking to Daalder and Mitchell. We should be worried though.

  14. Stephen D 14

    Although it’s the Police who have the management of the situation, if it drags on much longer it’ll be the government who looks weak.

    Time for serious action.

    • KJT 14.1

      They still have a right to protest.

      Congregating with a whole lot of unvaccinated people, who are refusing to distance or wear masks, and then heading back to families and workmates, is idiotic.
      And dangerous to the people they go home to.

      But giving them the martyrdom many of them want, is not the answer.

      Sometimes the best idea is not to give credibility by responding.

  15. This is an interesting, candid & shattering read about how a person fell down the 'freedom' rabbit holes and how she got out and is now re-establishing her life.


    • joe90 15.1

      Meet Ricardo Bosi. A former member of the Australian SAS, Bosi led the training of UAE Special Forces to and deployed with them to Afghanistan in 2012. He's since stood in a Federal election as a Senate candidate for Bernadi's Australian Conservatives and then had an unsuccessful crack as an independent in a by-election.

      Off-stage, out in the cybersphere, were the ranters. Consider a fellow named Riccardo Bosi, a former special forces soldier. He presents himself as leader of the AustraliaOne Party, an outfit deep into conspiracy theories, whose followers handed out pamphlets at the protests.

      Vaccines, Bosi propounds, will kill your children with the willing complicity of depraved and corrupt political leaders. Oh, and the vaccine comes with a barcode that can be scanned at the injection site, apparently by “globalists”.

      Declaring himself dedicated to peace, he nevertheless predicts a festival of hanging after a coming judgment by his people. Here he is on one of his recent videos: “I’m warning everybody now, we’re going to hang former prime ministers, former justices of the High Court of Australia, we are going to hang billionaires … we’re going to be hanging an example from every piece of the Australian machinery, the polity, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the military, the media, everybody is up for the high jump. If they do deserve to hang, they will hang.”


    • aj 15.2

      Once they started hassling and heckling mask-wearing schoolchildren walking past, they lost any sympathy I had for their protest. Also I don't think it's very brave to keep young children at a protest site where the threats, hate and invective has been so strong.

      Pandemic madness. They are deluded. It's infecting more than I thought.

  16. Ross 16

    Meanwhile, in 2019, protestor Ollie Langridge protested at Parliament grounds for 100 days. The current protest has a long way to go…

    Some MPs visited him and spoke with him. Those were the days.


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