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Protest! Asset Sales – TPPA

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 8th, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: activism, assets, greens, labour, mana, Privatisation, trade - Tags: , , ,

Yesterday evening there was an Aotearoa is Not For Sale, anti-asset sales protest in Auckland city, that included an anti-TPPA element.  It was a curtain raiser for a TPPA Day of Action today, with protests in Nelson and Auckland.  Friday evening’s demonstration celebrated getting close to the target number of signatures required on the petition for a referendum on Asset Sales.  It was also to encourage people to re-energise for the last push to reach the target number of signatures.

The anti-asset sales march began outside Britomart Station, central Auckland a little after 6pm, with a chill wind blowing and blustery showers.  The march of several hundred people (I’m hopeless at estimating crowd sizes) walked noisily up Queen street and arrived in Aotea Square in the calm evening sunshine.

At the beginning, the guy on the megaphone welcomed the women from the on-going state housing protest in Glen Innes. He praised the women for being at the forefront of the fight against asset sales.The participants in the march included people from the Green, Mana and Labour Parties, Socialist Aotearoa, someone carrying a nurses banner, some people with climate change placards, one dressed as the climate change “elephant in the room“, and many others: a diverse and lively crowd.  On the walk up Queen Street we often stopped to chant in front of passersby, sometimes blocking intersections – this seemed to annoy one of the car drivers who sat on their horn for a long time.

As we neared Wellesley Street a group of Hare Krishnas walked on the pavement beside us, singing their chorus with drums and hand cymbals.  The competition with our chants was festive and energising.

At Aotea Square we gathered on the grass in front of the town hall for some short speeches.  Russell from the Maritime Union spoke first.

 

Then the women from Glen Innes, leaders of the struggle against asset theft, took a stage call. They were introduced with reference to the introduction of state housing back in the 1930s.  The Labour Party people responsible for that were largely working class men. Today the majority of those at the forefront of the struggle against the removal of state housing are women.

 

Gareth Hughes was commended on his big effort in enthusiastically leading the gathering of signatures for the referendum petition.  He said they now had 350,000 signatures, and that the target of 410,000 should be reached pretty soon.  Meanwhile Laila Harre continued to gather signatures at the edge of the crowd.

 

As well as speaking against asset sales, Phil Twyford called the government out for many of the unacceptable things it was doing, including the demonising of beneficiaries.

Sian from Aotearoa Is Not for Sale, and Socialist Aotearoa gave her first ever speech, saying that our assets shouldn’t be run for profit, but should be run for the people.  Hone Harawira, who had a tangi to attend, sent a  message of support, and John Minto spoke for Mana.

Jane Kelsey repeated some of the things she said in the last 2 Citizen A‘s.  She said TPP would shut down the use of the Internet in an easy and affordable way. (See Geoff Cumming, NZH article this morning on Internet & copyright issues.) Kelsey also said that Key’s government wanted to sell off the assets so that TPP would lock them in.  It would be almost impossible to get them back without multinational corporations suing the NZ government.  Kelsey directed her accusing eyes at the Sky Tower needle that looms behind Aotea Square.  The TPP negotiations are being conducted in secrecy in Sky City.  It was there that she was looking when she lead the chant – Shame! Shame! Shame.

Kelsey said that the march today would be leaving Aotea Square promptly at 2.00 pm, because they needed to arrive at Sky City by 2.30 pm to deliver the Avaaz petition.  Someone suggested people should aim to get to the Square around 1.30 pm.  Kelsey announced there would be some street theatre at Sky City.

Some background on the TPPA in the latest edition of Werewolf (#36: 28 Nov 2012).

Actions – in the next few days in NZ (mostly Auckland):

Sat 8 Dec Nelson 12 NoonMarch Millers Acre to the 1903 site.

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 2pm:   Major rally and presentation of Avaaz petition on TPP …, meeting at Aotea Square at 1.30-2pm: leaving promptly at 2pm to march to entrance of Skycity casino, Federal St. ..

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 6-9pm. TPPA? No way! Awareness raising concert at St Kevin’s Arcade, K’Road.

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 6-8pm: Creative Freedom: Protecting NZ’s copyright Act. Toto Restaurant, public event on the TPP, featuring a number of flash talks, performances & displays (see information at the link)

Mon 10 Dec Auckland 5.30pm: “Trading away our future: TPPA and the Environment”, … Refreshments provided. 5.30 at Green Party offices, 17 Mercury Lane, Newton. http://www.facebook.com/events/562836617066132/

[I hope today’s protests go well.  I am unable to go]

[Update] I have not seen one MSM report of last night’s peaceful and good humoured demonstration.  Today’s demo makes headlines because there was violence.  There is a little mention of the reasons for the protest buried at the bottom of the article.  And of course, it’s the protesters who were being violent according to the MSM.

Reports from RNZ, 3 News (there was more focus on the violence in the 6pm TV news), NewstalkZB, Stuff.  John Minto is critical of stupid and provocative policing.  Video in support of allegations that a woman protester was punched in the face by a police officer. GPJA claims it was stupid and provocative policing that caused the violence. Bomber says the media only turned up after they heard there was violence happening.

51 comments on “Protest! Asset Sales – TPPA ”

  1. ak 1

    Top job Karol. To anyone with the minutest skerrick of optimism left for the future of this great country – watch Citizen A again, gather some cobbers and get down there this avo.

    Remember mining. Not just a shot in the arm for your own soul, a real chance to be part of a ripening world.

  2. Johnm 2

    Good real Kiwis. I’ve done my bit: I’ve signed the petition and made a submission, essentially selling off our assets is : “Daylight Robbery”. Well done Protesters let’s put a spanner in the works of Goldman Sachs John and keep our land for us not International Vulture Capitalists who want to pick over profit remains here. 🙂

  3. TighyRighty 3

    Shit, better tell police about our 1% march. We need marshals and protection with so many protestors out. Auckland better look the fuck out.

  4. TightyRighty
    Regarding the value of protest, you might be interested to read this:

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/consuming-democracy.html

    • karol 4.1

      Actually, I think the Glen Innes women’s protest points to part of the answer to productive activism.  it’s localised, flax-roots, on a pressing issue that the MSM don’t want ot take much notice of.

      And they are linking in with the wider campaigns like Aotearoa Not for Sale. 

      Networks of small groups working on specific local issues, linked into a broad movement of other local campaigners and takers of positive action. 

  5. TightyRighty 5

    Robert, are you trying to bore me into accepting your beliefs?

    That article, as with most if the anti-America, world is ending rubbish completely ignores the abundance of entrepreneurship and innovation at the wests disposal. Far better of course to make everyone poorer fr ideological reasons than believe that we can be rich and awesome. A prime example of why the left always loses the minds of the voter, too negative.

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      The right don’t have minds to lose, just investment portfolios and a bunch of foul prejudices. Sadly, in the Aotearoa of today, this seems to go down well.

      • TighyRighty 5.1.1

        Another broken record, how do you think the wealthy get that way? It’s not by being stupid.

        Murray Olsen = clod

        • Viperous Descendant Of Smith 5.1.1.1

          Nah I’ve met plenty of stupid rich people and plenty of intelligent poor people. It”s not about intelligence. You already know that though.

        • RedLogix 5.1.1.2

          No-one said they had a low IQ. It’s the amoral misuse of that intelligence that’s so striking to the rest of us.

          And few have much problem with someone who gains wealth by creating something new or more effective; entrepreneurship has a very real and useful place.

          But of course that’s not how most wealth has been accumulated. Is it?

        • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.3

          Actually pork pie, considering what they’ve done and intend to do to our planet, I don’t mind calling most of the rich stupid at all. I’d guess you’re not one of them though, you just like lubing up your slug gun to Ted Nugent videos while you dream of your rightful place as John Key’s limousine driver.
          I’d say at least 75% of the problems we face have come about because most of us believe people with smart suits and big wallets know what they’re talking about. One day we might evolve enough to consider content rather than form, but for many of us that day will never arrive.

  6. Rodeo 6

    I like the Glen Inness women’s expression, ‘Asset Theft ‘.
    It’s much more powerful than the old ‘Asset Sales’ expression and tells what the issue really is about.

  7. karol 7

    And, of course, last night’s totally peaceful protest got no news coverage, at all.  

    And now the main coverage today’s demo gets, is all about the violence, and little about the reasons for protesting! 

  8. Disgusting behavior from the usual 150 protestors that turned up.

    You guys arent the 99%, your not even the 1%

    • xtasy 8.1

      Hey, do NOT accuse the 150 number of participants in the protest ALL of “bashing” and whatever you may like to call this!

      It was likely more people than that who went to the march and before the convention centre, but you are applying “collective guilt” and imply justified “collective punishment”.

      That disqualifies you for a start, to be taken serious.

  9. Once again the left wing protest movement proved how
    violent and disgusting they’re are.

    Two police officers got assaulted, one female officer
    was repeatedly kicked in the head, by a female
    protestor.

    The usual suspects were involved in this ugly protest,
    Green party MP Catherine Delahunty, activist John
    Minto, the other 148 protestors were from the usual
    Socialist/communist parties and various anti Israel and
    various union groups.

    Jane Kelsey who (organized the protest)
    like most socialists tried to blame the police.

    The protest was against free trade, and as usual, they
    tried to burn the American flag.

    Well here is a message to all those protestors who
    protested…

    You guys aren’t the 99%, you guys arent even the 1%
    your a handful of people who have an ideology that
    99.9% of kiwis DISAGREE with.

    How dare you, try to dictate to the country, how this
    country should be run, and how dare you be violent
    towards the police and members of the public.

    YOU DON’T GET TO DO THAT!!!

    Heres hoping justice will be done, and the people
    who attacked the police will be bought to justice.

    I anit holding my breath though.

    • karol 9.1

      Do you have evidence of what actually happened at the protest, Brett?  A long rant, but short of evidence.

      And how do you explain a week of peaceful protests?  And I saw no reports of Delahunty or Minto being involved in any violence.

      • Brett Dale 9.1.1

        Hey carol, yep tv3 had some footage and arrests have now been made!

        • karol 9.1.1.1

          Brett, I saw it on the 6pm news, and watched it again online.  It shows is a lot of people pushing and shoving, and no evidence of how it started.  No evidence of Delahunty or Minto being involved in violence.  So what evidence are you saying “yep” to?

    • Viper73 9.2

      I hope the policewoman apologizes for any damage done to the protestors foot

    • Morrissey 9.3

      Poor old Brett Dale is at it again….

      Once again the left wing protest movement proved…

      Once again YOU have proved how little you know about anything, including politics.

      Instead of boring everyone here with your foolish right-wing nonsense, why don’t you go back to your sad little blog and put up yet another anti-football rant?

      • Brett Dale 9.3.1

        Morrissey [deleted]

        And you have been boring people ever since your days on usenet. Oh I love Football, i dont like rugby union.

        Why not speak out about violence against woman, but then again that doesnt bother you.

        • Morrissey 9.3.1.1

          And you have been boring people ever since your days on usenet.

          Ha! Even from someone who was mildly competent, that would be a desperately inadequate attempt at a rejoinder. From you, though, it’s exactly what one would expect—limp, witless, and totally off the mark.

          Oh I love Football, i dont like rugby union.

          You really are bewildered. That moronic comment just confirms it. By the way, nobody, other than you and Murray Deaker, uses the term “rugby union”. It’s simply “rugby” or “football”. Are you actually Murray Deaker?

          Why not speak out about violence against woman, but then again that doesnt bother you.

          What a totally idiotic non-sequitur.

    • xtasy 9.4

      “Violent” and “disgusting” accusations thrown at the “left” protestors here, what a load of bloody nonsense?

      So you accuse Delahunty, Minto and others to be responsible for all this? How can they be responsible for every individual at a protest, who may or may not have acted outside the law?

      Where then is the Prime Minister’s responsibility for the GCSB and some police thugs, who in some cases abuse the law and deal to NZ residents and citizens they dislike or find as being easy targets to “keep and eye” on, or spy on, in some cases also harass or beat up dissenting protestors.

      Add the SIS perhaps.

      Where is the PM’s responsibility for an MP accused of lying, supporting his fragile government in Parliament?

      Maybe that is why there is not much “right wing” protest action in NZ, because a lot of “right wing” action is applied “legally” under the umbrella of the present “state”?

      Maybe join your mates on Whaleoil’s blog, he must “love” your sort of one-eyed hater.

    • geoff 9.5

      How dare you, try to dictate to the country, how this
      country should be run…

      Yeah exactly! You ‘orrible lefties should leave that up to the Transnational Corporations, eh Brett.

  10. BM 10

    Did see some cop smack out some wanker out on the news, Bang, that prick will be eating via a straw for the next couple of months.

    • Jester 10.1

      Yep and that guy will still be more coherent than Mumbles Shearer!

    • Brett Dale 10.2

      Any concern for the woman police officer that got her head kicked in? or do peace activists like your self and minto turn a blind eye to that, as long as the person doing the kicking has the same ideology.

  11. karol 11

    Ustream (BIG PUSH AGAINST #TPPA FULL) has a continuous video taken of the demo, but it’s not clear what happened.  It looked peaceful outside Sky City at 1hr 30mins.  Then at around 1 hr 33 mins the protesters set fire to the petition.  There’s a scuffle, but it’s hard to see what happened.

    • Brett Dale 11.1

      The police officer currently in hospital because of the thugs, might be able to shed the light on the matter, im guessing it was members of socialist aotearoa.

  12. Phil 12

    Hey Brett, do you actually know anyone from S.A? Be a huge surprise to me if it was any of those people, maybe you can let us know what you base your “guessing” on? Or should we simply bow to your superior……..thing
    As for provocation, just who was that guy walking around at the Nats conference protest a few years ago screaming “Shame” in everyone’s faces, you remember eh? Remember a nice calm Wharfie drawing a police woman’s attention to the poorly suited fool and having him escorted back to the lobby of the hotel frothing and trying to pull away. Needed a hand from another police man just to get him safely closeted away.

    Oh BTW, TV One reporting this
    “ANFS event organiser Miriam Pierard told ONE News, that “we’ve actually spoken to lots of National voters who have come out in support of us and have said they are ashamed of voting National.”

    Wonder if what you saw was another chocolate soldier from the NACTs trying to reclaim his or her vigor without the aid of viagra…

    Oh, and this from TV One as well;
    “Police say that there had been no issues reported in Auckland’s CBD in relation to today’s march”.

    Anyway Brett, Merry Christmas, hope the Christmas message softens your heart, and pray that your family never need more than they can afford.

  13. Drakula 13

    How about a nation wide strike? I think we should instigate the final showdown!!!!! Like Spain, like Greece and all the other European countries that held the Europe wide strike!!!! Let’s kick these bastards out once and for all!!!!!

    • Saccharomyces 13.1

      Good luck with your nationwide strike, with union membership at only a shade above 17% of the workforce it ain’t going to have much effect.

  14. xtasy 14

    More LIES and bullshit from the NZ mainstream (misinforming) corporate media:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10852773

    Just read the lines:

    “A handful of police and SkyCity security staff were overwhelmed by more than 150 protesters, forcing the on-the-ground commander to call in reinforcements from around Auckland.

    “Police staff moved in to prevent escalation and two officers were separated, attacked and kicked numerous times. Fire appliances were called to the scene to help,” police said in a statement. “Two arrests were made. One of these arrests was a female that stomped on a constables head.””

    Added further down in the article a range of names of prominent protest participants, including Auckland Uni professor Kelsey, Auckland City councillor Casey, Green MP Delahunty are mentioned, almost suggesting, they participated ALL in a violent attack on “a handful” of police and security officers.

    What a load of rubbish. There were on TV3 certainly many, many more than a handful of police and security officers to be seen, and given the location, the event and announced protest, police always make sure they have enough numbers there, especially with such high level, international meetings. Surely, not the whole protest group of 150 would have pushed to try to get into the convention centre at Sky City Casino.

    Indeed, some scuffles appear to have broken out between a few protestors, who according to also present MP Hone Harawira appeared to have been provoked by excessive police force. One police officer that fell to the ground had a helmet on! Of the other one, not much could be seen. If someone actually kicked an officer, then they will naturally face charges and must stand before a court.

    I would guess though, that the trouble started, because police objected to some boxes with refused petition papers being set on fire in the middle of the street. Instead of containing the incident, something must have happened to lead to scuffles, which could be seen on TV3 news. TV1 treated the incident with much less attention to detail, but more bias, as far as I would say.

    Increasingly some of the MSM appear to be joining other forces to prepare for the further tightening of laws and suffocation of public dissent, yes bringing this country closer to a de-facto kind of elite ruled dictatorship. Protestors have already been stigmatised and intimidated frequently before, be this a protest at the Auckland region WINZ and MSD office not long ago, the filming of the protests against the benefit cuts in Henderson, West Auckland, by constantly associating protesters with antisocial and “beneficiary” elements, tending to create “disorder”.

    It will serve NatACT and their tough law and order talk, same as the beneficiary bashing, serving as another opportunity to create a link between “rent a crowd” protesters living off benefits, and a justification for tightening criminal law and the benefit laws.

    Get prepared for the next major law changes, more police powers, and better also prepare for the tight ship “Fuehrer Shearer” will run, should he ever win an election with his largely submissive caucus “committee”.

    Shutting up dissent on blog-sites is just the beginning.

    Times to be very, very afraid!

    • karol 14.1

      Agree, xtasy.

      Police managing a pre-planned demonstration, and not a very large protest at that, should be well able to enable it to stay peaceful.  There is a science to managing crowds, that is well-known to those in the crowd management business like the police.  And yet, they engaged in provocative behaviour.  Either yesterday they had an incompetent officer or two in their ranks, or they deliberately set out to provoke the crowd.

      Sometimes police deliberately set out to provoke a protest in order to discredit it.  There’s a well known term when the police, or other state agencies, employ agents to help with such provocation.

      There was a second incident yesterday, when the police zoomed into a small group of protesters at Aotea Square and allegedly pushed protesters aside, then threw a woman to the ground. (video and description of the incident linked at the bottom of my post).  A woman protester was allegedly punched in the face by an officer.

      Whether it was incompetence or deliberate, such incidents enable to government to  reinforce dramatic headlines by denouncing the cause the protesters support.  In this case this will be an extra way, John Key will dismiss opposition to the TPP. 

      Once a crowd is provoked, some members will get angry and retaliate in a less than desirable way.  In one of the reports, Kelsey was urging protesters to stand firm.  Some clearly didn’t listen or hear.  But that’s what happens when a crowd is provoked – any crowd.

      • xtasy 14.1.1

        Going by the 3news coverage, which was brief, but showed a bit, I had the impression that something got out of hand during a standoff between police (and security) on Federal Street, and it seemed that some of the protesters actually tried to intervene and calm things down.

        Now why does this never gets mentioned.

        Protesters in NZ are increasingly treated as the “marginal” “rent-a-crowd”, who are a bit “mad” and “aggressive”, and not just the Police, but even the mainstream media feeds on this, as it delivers instant “headlines” when something even little goes wrong.

        I will wait and see what some will have to say, who may have been close to the incident and seen more than I could. Admittedly I could not make it to the protest, as due to time and financial restrictions my ability to participate is at times severely limited. I am sure many others are in similar situations. Hence the not so large turnouts (also due to some too afraid getting involved now).

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          Global Peace and Justice have issued a press release, claiming the violence started when police made the poor decision to intervene after protesters started the fire:

          The policing of the TPP protest gathering in Auckland yesterday afternoon was provocative and plain stupid. As the protest was preparing to leave Sky City, the most senior police officer intervened to stop a symbolic act of burning a number of cardboard petition boxes.
           
          With tensions running high after the refusal of TPP organisers to accept the 750,000 international petition against the negotiations, the police action added insult to injury.  It was unnecessary, highly provocative and it was inevitable a scuffle would break out with several people injured.
           
          To make matters worse, this same officer repeated the stupidity with the very provocative arrest of a young woman in Aotea Square a short time later.
           
          Another scrum was inevitable with further injuries.

          And Bomber has argued similarly.  He also says the media only turned up after they heard there was some violence happening – shame on the MSM.  Their thirst for drama, conflict and ratings skews the coverage of important matters.

          As I said above, there are recognised methods of crowd management, and it is always best to defuse tensions rather than provoke them (I learned a little of this when I underwent a short training to be a marshall for the Sydney Mardi Gras procession a few years back – I’m sure police have more intensive and in-depth training on it).
           
          I will add these links to the bottom of the post for future reference. 

          • xtasy 14.1.1.1.1

            That is along the lines of what I had expected to have happened.

            And where are the media reports now about the alleged “stomping” on a police officer’s head?

            I heard no comments from Police, the MSM, nor any other person about this.

            So all that appears to also have been VASTLY EXAGGERATED and possibly even been distorted again.

            It is disgusting that they get away with this, without making any correcting statements in a follow up.

            CRAP media is dominating the NZ media scene, and it is getting worse every year.

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