web analytics

Protests then and now

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, July 24th, 2012 - 19 comments
Categories: activism, labour, national - Tags: ,

The usual National Party cheerleaders in the media are trying to make out the modest size of the protests at the Nat’s conference in the weekend means that opposition to National is weak. John Armstrong writes:

National’s annual conference was not short of protests. But the protests were embarrassingly short of protesters.

Contrary to the impression given by some accounts, the 400 or so party faithful did not spend their weekend cowering inside Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre behind a not-so-thin blue line of police.

Is that right John? According to TVNZ:

Protesters swarm National Party conference

Hundreds of protesters swarmed the SkyCity Convention in Auckland yesterday afternoon, in an attempt to interrupt the National Party annual conference. … Around 300 people took part in the protest, which included a group from the Auckland-based student movement Blockade The Budget.

Here’s an image from the video – looks like a long yellow line with a decent crowd outside to me:

Just by way of contrast, let’s cast our minds back to 2008, the last conference of the then Labour government. At the height of the media’s anti EFA hysteria the total protest on that issue consisted of “John Boscawen and a dozen or so supporters”. There were a few leftie groups protesting at the conference too, but the protests tended to look like this:

Compare with the National party conference above!

Looks like we should conclude that opposition to National in 2012 is much stronger and more vociferous than opposition to Labour in 2008. Doesn’t bode well for the Nats! Alternatively of course, we could conclude that trying to judge opposition to governments by the size and nature of the protests at their respective conferences is daft.

[The best measure of opposition to asset sales is surely the referendum petition. The Greens alone are collecting nearly 2,000 signatures a day. Eddie]

19 comments on “Protests then and now ”

  1. Dave 1

    “The best measure of opposition to asset sales is surely the referendum petition”

    Indeed, but that will go the same way as the anti smacking referendum – ignored by government, but costing millions to run a referendum (and had more protestors at protest marches). Unfortunately petition-based opposition doesn’t mean much these days, does it. #normwithers

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Unfortunately petition-based opposition doesn’t mean much these days, does it. #normwithers

      Yes it does. Your one example helped bring about the fall of a Government, did it not?

  2. marsman 2

    John Key’s little poodle Tracy Watkins had a similar dismissive and fabricated bit of bullshit in the National Party’s DomPost yesterday.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “Looks like we should conclude that opposition to National in 2012 is much stronger and more vociferous than opposition to Labour in 2008. ”

    Or, just that the people who oppose Labour are much less likely to get out and physically protest than the people who oppose National.

    • gareth 3.1

      Which to be honest is completely correct, I would say that the left has far more activists that are willing to go and physically protest on the street. I couldn’t name any activists from the right but I can name several from the left just through watching the news, reading blogs etc.
      I guess it’s to do with ideology and perhaps demographics.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        The people who oppose Labour meet in Auckland board rooms and Oriental Bay mansions.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1

          Yup. Their protests and machinations don’t get much publicity, but are a lot more effective.

  4. bad12 4

    Referendum are a Clayton’s democratic tool, unless they are made binding upon the Government of the day referendum are simply a waste of time,

    The best impetus to asset sales opposition would be if both Labour and the Greens actually stood up for something like returning the stolen assets to public ownership via taxing those who buy them to the extent that a Government buy back is possible…

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “unless they are made binding upon the Government of the day referendum are simply a waste of time,”

      Disagree. Once held, they show the true public position on a particular topic that no other mechanism is capable of.

      In this case, the petition is designed to embarrass the government and put paid to their touted “mandate”. It won’t change what they’re doing at all, but it might make their vote drop at the next election.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    The torys like to play the numbers game in these situations, but look at numbers in a different way. The right usually lord it over the wider community with small numbers. An unelected CCO here, a board chair or bent bankster there. Hardly the will of the people.

    Collin Craig’s kid beaters march was a flop because it actually needed numbers of ‘real’ people on it to succeed and attracted paltry numbers, conversely the No Mining 50,000 march was a great success.
    The last big event the right organised was the “Tania Harris” anti union rally in Queen St Auckland some 30 years ago.

    Right wingers typically do not like marches or collective methods. They prefer bitching and moaning behind their twitching curtains or tinted glass.

  6. xtasy 6

    Is the most notable difference between “protest then and now” not rather the now hugely increased number of police called out to “guard” any protests against the NatACT government and the not so honest PM John Key?

    That is what I have noticed, more than anything else.

    The police appear to be getting marching orders to turn out in not just dozens, it seemed from the National Party Conference that at one stage there must have been a hundred or more of them there, close to matching the number of protestors on Saturday 23 July 2012.

    Only due to the poor weather, and I presume some feeling they did their “protest duty” on Saturday, was the turnout much lower on Sunday, numbering around a hundred protestors.

    My impression is increasingly, that the “modern NZ” is starting to resemble more the common kind of society and “security policies” that are used in NZ’s 2nd largest trading partner’s country. That is Mainland China, if I am correct.

    When political and trade delegations from there come visiting, NZ politicians and officials do ensure, they keep Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama and other “controversial” figures away, do not associate with them, and also shield the visitors from “nasty” protestors, all for “security” reasons.

    Democracy is a valuable asset, but it appears to be “for sale” now, like so much in Aotearoa NZ.

  7. Anne 7

    Didn’t some mentally challenged fool with a lot of money spend $500,000 on advertising a protest march up Queen St. against the S59 bill? He reckoned there was going to be close to 50,000 on the march? From memory there was about 500.

    It was just before the election – loads and loads of MSM attention of course. The poor turnout was played down.

    Oops Tiger Mountain beat me to it.

    • xtasy 7.1

      You’re not talking of that peculiar Colin Craig, the prayer business man from the North Shore, who is rather rich and thinks he stands for morals and true, “conservative” democracy?

      He was the one who highly promoted (for months, advertised in large ads in daily papers, on TV and radio, same via a website) that ‘March for Democracy’ in Nov. 2009.

      The turnout was estimated to be between two and a half to four thousand then.

      Half the attendees were kind of bizarre characters, many of whom wanted the right to smack or hit children for disciplining them.

      Yes, all that was quite talked down afterwards, all kinds of excuses for the low turnout used. Still now though many comment about the “referendum” held before, and criticising Labour and the Greens for not listening to the non binding referendum.

      Strange all that?!

      • Anne 7.1.1

        Hi xtasy
        No, this was a different fellow. He had links to the ‘Family First’ crowd.

        Re- the March for Democracy… that was spearheaded by John Boscawen although I think Craig was also involved.

        That’s my recollection anyway.

  8. PunditX 8

    The strongest and most vociferous protest actually took place outside the Labour conference that followed the Urewera raid. With many of the same people there… We’re on a hiding to nothing if we gauge protest against the government with hastily convened rallies that will inevitably lead to a poor attendance. When is wise counsel going to intrude on the left..

  9. ropata 9

    i suppose “enough is enough” (destiny church) is a rally cry best forgotten?
    not NZ’s finest hour

  10. Murray Olsen 10

    Christian Heritage, Family First, ACT, and the Nonsensical Sentencing trust could always have a combined march. They have several issues in common.

  11. captain hook 11

    has the left got alzheimers?
    kweewee and his henchmen won the last two elections because rAdio skawkback and all the empty headed hair and teeth jobs on TV1 and TV3 maintained a constant barrage of crap that it was Nationals turn.
    hahahahahaha f*cking ha.
    the only way Labour and the left can counter this nonstop media assault is to establish their own micropulse radio stations and even the score.

  12. Georgecom 12

    On the matter of protest I can report this. On the recent Saturday of action groups of people collected about 1000 signatures on the asset sale petition around Hamilton. Despite what John Armstrong may wish to spin, people are pissed off.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago