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Kate Hawkesby: Good on David Seymour for meeting with the protesters

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Feb 2022, 7:57am
Act leader David Seymour. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act leader David Seymour. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Kate Hawkesby: Good on David Seymour for meeting with the protesters

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Feb 2022, 7:57am

I don’t have a problem with David Seymour meeting with the protesters.  

The Prime Minister does, obviously, but that's because he broke ranks of what up until now has been a pretty united front from all politicians. But Seymour decided dialogue might be a good thing - his justification being that "as protests change, so must the approach". And his view of it was that the extremists had gone, it was more peaceful now, and it was time for some responsible dialogue. 

To backtrack how all this came about, we had on the show yesterday, Backbencher Pub owner Alistair Boyce, to talk about how the Police were going to start towing protesters cars - and what that might mean for local businesses like him.  

Businesses who’d had to close due to the ruckus, and due to the fact regular punters weren’t pushing past protesters to show up, nor could they get a park because streets were blocked by protesters cars.  

Not that any of the cars have been towed yet, because Police still haven’t managed to find a truck as far as I can gather, but anyway, Alistair told us that he’d been talking with some of the protest leadership and the mood had changed, the crowd had changed, it was more calm and peaceful and protesters had some semblance of leadership now. 

They had an end goal, and they wanted to talk - and he said he’d brokered a deal with a senior member of Parliament to speak with them. I pushed him on who this might be, given that would be a big development if true, but he wouldn’t say other than the protest leadership and this mystery politician would be meeting by the end of the day. 

When Mike had Megan Woods on his show later on, he put this to her – that someone was going to meet with the protesters  - and she immediately shot that down saying categorically that absolutely no one from government would be meeting with them, that it was an unlawful protest, they were a dangerous and violent lot, and no government minister was going near them. She was adamant. She said there were people issuing death threats, there was a noose hanging in a tree, it was not safe. 

This left us perplexed as to who this secret politician meeting them must be. We later find out of course, David Seymour. 

He said it was time for ‘some mature conversation about de-escalation.’ 

Kudos to him for doing it. I'm not sure how entering a reasonable discussion and hearing each side of a story is ever a bad thing. 

The protesters want to be heard, and ignoring them has so far only fanned the flames, it's not working. But the Government won't budge. 

So good on Seymour for trying something different - but I’m not sure it resolves anything.  

Unfortunately, what the protesters really want is a government minister, someone with some ability to give them some answers around an end to mandates. 

But they’re not going to get it. 

So where does this all end? And more importantly when? Because at this stage it's an ever-growing occupation set up like a small village, and as of this morning, still not a single car's been towed.