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Outcomes of the Parliamentary occupation

  • February 17th, 2022

I spent time among the protesters on Thursday evening, then Saturday and several hours in the terrible rain on Sunday. I mainly wanted to see how the Police were handling it – since they plainly decided years ago to waive the law when private landowners (including Maori) sought protection against forceful Maori intruders – Shelly Bay being the latest local example. The Police conduct I saw (after the early failed attempt to arrest their way over the occupation) has been exemplary – if we accept that equality of treatment under the longstanding non-enforcement policy is a consoling value.

But I’ve been radicalised into hoping the protesters win (conspicuously by the end of mandates outside high transmission risk roles). That is by simple disgust at the bizarre RNZ and other MSM state propaganda vilifying the protesters. In my many hours there, I’ve seen nothing to support the calumny aimed at the protesters. Sure, its attracted some dingbats and potentially menacing individuals. But in my view a lower proportion than in most protests.

But even if there had been truth in the allegations that the protest was funded and inspired by sinister extreme right wing foreign influences and menacing elements, the repetition of those claims demonstrates a political generation’s childish inability to look more than one move past their predicament.

Once the Police had clearly decided they had to deal softly with the protesters the die was cast. There could be no credit for a government to have its Police tip-toeing around allegedly dangerous law-breakers. If you can’t get your Police to act, you should downplay the threat, not exaggerate it, if you are not to look unable to govern. Especially if there is a risk that you might have to compromise some time.
It was also silly for Coster to wade in saying he would be moving people and vehicles when he did not have the means. And for media to claim that the Backbencher was a victim of ghastly people without being sure that the owner would not come out as he has, endorsing their courtesy, cleanliness and conduct, and then their cause.
Once Winston effectively espoused the protest cause the thing became an unmitigated loss for National and ACT. Holding their prissy political class noses together with Labour gave Winston just what he needs. And exposed the comprehensive lack of statesmanship in Parliament parties.

There is a long way for this to run. The government might decide to up the stakes and fight to a conclusion. They might “win”. But there will be a larger segment of NZ society they will no longer be able to communicate with, at least for some time. That segment is getting a daily direct lesson that our leaders lie or are careless about making stuff up, that the political class (including political journalists) have decided to stifle debate and gag people who could supply facts. I think it quite possible that none of the party leaders in Parliament had any idea of the scale of anti-mandate sentiment. It has emerged full-blown in people I know well to be unequivocally pro vax.

Main stream media are now irrelevant to many people now being radicalised, as a source of objective news. Journalists standing on balconies with the rulers are no channel to the ruled, nor can they warn the rulers of unwelcome threads of opinion and concerns among those ruled.


If the Police do manage to end this occupation here, my guess is that will sow seeds for similar resistance to break out wherever people go home to. They could target symbolically important places and their tactics can evolve faster than the authorities can evolve theirs. Among other reasons because people who have lost their jobs have more time and less to lose than before, and because those the authorities call on to enforce the law may be unreliable. Too many may sympathise with the resistance. Like the towies.

Grounded Kiwis finally getting home as MIQ ends will be predisposed to think the worst of the government, and even the opposition for being too equivocal in urging the necessary changes in the system.


The common response of ACT, National, Labour, Greens and the Maori Party has been infantile – “I can’t see you, you’re on your own and if I talked to you other people would think I was a loser like you,  you’re horrible, you stink so I won’t talk to you, everyone I know hates you, and you’ve been mean about me, so I’m not coming out of my bedroom”. But it is not funny. It is carrying us fast into the poisonous political polarisation that now discredits and paralyses other democracies.

We have been lucky with two leader s (Key and Ardern) who the haters could not persuade us to hate. But that has been good luck, not good management. After the childish moralisers took over political journalism and political parties the end of that was probably inevitable. Our luck has run out.

Comments

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  • Am Nolan
  • February 18th, 2022
  • 9:15 am

Well said. Fully agree!!! I am glad we have intellectuals left in this country that has the gust to call out tyranny.

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  • Hilary Taylor
  • February 18th, 2022
  • 10:20 am

Yes, yes, YES. Luck..has been on the govt’s side all through this pandemic…hubris prevents them acknowledging that. I support the ‘little guy’ here 100% and have put my money where my mouth is.

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  • Roger Armstrong
  • February 19th, 2022
  • 9:26 am

I can not comprehend how Act has supported vaccine mandates/coercion. They are not only immoral (which one hopes is a key tenant of any Act position) but now we know the vaccines are incredibly leaky and degrading, especially under Omicron, there is not even a sliver of a scientific argument for their use.

I’m sure Act has lost a sizeable portion of its traditional supporters over this, with many in the country now like me feeling completely politically homeless.

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  • Susan Aucutt
  • February 23rd, 2022
  • 11:52 am

Thank you Stephen. I have been thinking of you and wondering what you may be thinking of this situation. Oh for voices such as yours.

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  • Nicholas Lynch
  • February 23rd, 2022
  • 1:16 pm

The only “river of filth” is that which flows through the corridors of parliament.

great article Stephen

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