ZB

Mike's Minute: No winners from Parliament protest

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Mar 2022, 10:15am

Mike's Minute: No winners from Parliament protest

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Mar 2022, 10:15am

No winners, it would seem, in the Wellington protest. 

What the police are doing should have been done weeks ago. Andrew Coster yesterday saying the harm being done outweighs legitimate protest has been obvious for a very long time. 

The goal was a dropping of the mandates. It was never going to happen. Protests don't achieve those sorts of things. They raise issues, they display alarm, concern, or anger. But camping out doesn’t change government thinking. It's not the 1960s. 

The mandates will go, but not on the whim of a protest. 

The fact so many mobilised was, and still is, to be admired to the point that it reflected there, for a while, a general and widespread unease in the country about a variety of things this government is up to. But that was also it's undoing. 

It didn’t have a singular focus, it wasn’t well organised and it didn’t have an obvious leader. In this day of modern messaging, a broad collective of wider society was never going to be able to galvanise and grow in a way that would lead to an effective outcome. 

For every so-called lawyer, doctor, teacher, and regular joe that allegedly was there, you could find a tin hat, a Trump flag, a conspiracy theorist, a thug, a gang member, and a lot of people who looked like they didn’t have a lot else to do. 

And what it also showed was a general disdain for the law. Make your point about anything you want, but when the law says it's over, it's over. 

The moment you don’t respect the law, you are a thug. Pitchforks, shields, and weapons to battle police is not protest, it's anarchy. 

This is where the police and the good men and women in blue have been so badly let down by their leaders. 

The Prime Minister and Stuart Nash appointed Andrew Coster. He was known to be soft, but that was the sort of policing approach they favoured. Look where it's got them. 

I watched in shock last weekend as State Highway One was closed and protestors in Auckland walked across the bridge. The police are the law, not an escort service and yet under Coster we've seen protests set up and settle in Christchurch, Picton, Auckland, and Wellington. 

And the longer they have gone, the more emboldened some have become. The police have to be respected and respect in law and order is critical to a civilised society. That’s why this thing has ended so badly, the civility is gone because too many think the police don’t count, and too many feel a shield or pitchfork is the answer. 

So Coster has some serious questions to answer, and the protestors have to accept that they lose. 

The mandate stays and not many are sad they are rounded up and out of there.