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Kate Hawkesby: The protest yesterday achieved very little

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Aug 2022, 10:07am
Photo / George Heard
Photo / George Heard

Kate Hawkesby: The protest yesterday achieved very little

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Aug 2022, 10:07am

I think what the protesters did yesterday was remind most of us that we’re not interested in going backwards, as a country. And it felt like that’s what yesterday’s protest was doing. Going backwards.

Banal pleas like locking up the PM, ‘when I say Cindy, you say jail time’ was one of the chants. And while I’m as sick of the Prime Minister as you are, this ain’t it.

This is not how you effect change, this is not how you get people on board. It’s certainly not how you get rid of a Prime Minister. 

To be a great leader, or to even gather a credible movement, you need to have buy in from a large swathe of people, not just your cultist followers who’d go anywhere and chant anything for you. Which is what the rabble yesterday looked like.

It looked like a fringe event, filled with Destiny Church followers who would march anywhere if Bishop Brian was at the front.

The annoying thing is, for all the people who say – well you’re the media, you shouldn’t be covering it, why are you giving them airtime?’ The problem is, news likes good pics - and protests, banners, crowds and flags make good pics.

They also cause a lot of inconvenience which needs reporting too, like closed roads or diverted bus services. And the fact that it’s at Parliament – it all adds up to newsworthy and they know it. It gets the attention they want it to get, but does it get the results? 

Will they really get the PM locked up? Of course not. Are they seriously thinking the Government will drop all mandates just because they say so? Again, no.

As for the ‘hands off our children’ placards, what hands are on whose children?

There’s a lack of clarity in the messaging, shouting ‘freedom’ and ‘enough is enough’.. freedom from what? Masks?

Look I agree with them on that front, we need to move on from the traffic light and the mask mandates, the rest of the world has, but I don’t think we have no freedom because of that. 

And I don’t think this is the way to go about getting rid of them.

Other chants included, ‘Beehive bullies must go’… Government must go’.. Trevor Mallard must go too apparently – well he’s already off anyway to his cushy number in Ireland, but Brian Tamaki wants wife Hannah to have that job.

Not sure that’s going to take off, but like I said, a lot of messages. 

They were calling for a snap election – they held a ‘people’s court’ to charge the Government with crimes against humanity.

Then Tamaki announced a new umbrella political party and they all dispersed relatively peacefully by mid-afternoon. So let’s hope that’s the end of it.

I didn’t appreciate them blocking the motorways in Auckland and cutting off traffic to busy shopping precinct Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure Wellingtonians didn’t appreciate the disruption they endured either. 

And that’s the nub of all this. It really doesn’t affect the politicians who just carried on about their business expelling Sharma, but it did affect commuters, students and local businesses.

All that 'people’s court' and trying to get the Prime Minister ‘locked up’ is not effective protesting, it's just a group of disgruntled people letting off steam.

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