This was awesome. The three Society members that made it to the protest mixed it up with people from many different walks of life and it was great to see that people can still be passionate about something they believe in. Too choice.
Auckland’s Queen Street closed today with hundreds of protestors taking over the thoroughfare in protest at the Government’s asset sale plans.
The crowd, estimated at well over 1000 people, was one of multiple protests taking place throughout the country in response to the controversial scheme.
The Stop the Thefts protest marches have seen thousands of people gather in 15 main centres around New Zealand.
Among Mana Party flags, Labour party placards and Green Party banners, demonstrator’s signs in Auckland stretched from the direct: “Keep our assets”, to the hopeful: “People power will prevail”, to the even more direct: “F the rich”.
The Prime Minister came under a lot of fire: “Key: Kiwis come first, not your mates”, “John Key: Merchant of Menace”, “Help, a Jonkey just pinched my ass(ets)”, and “Aotearoa: Land of the long white clown of a P.M.”
Queen St was closed from Wellesley St to Mayoral Dr after the crowd marched up the street from Queen’s Wharf.
Marcher Peggy Dyer said she was against asset sales because she had been through it before in the 1980s and had seen it did not work.
Mary Anderson, from National stronghold Orewa, said John Key was “a gambler, and now he’s a salesman”.
One speech-maker asked the so-called “mum and dad investors” who would be offered stocks in the companies: “Why would you invest in something you already own?”
Wellington’s Cuba St saw hundreds turn out, despite the wet weather.
From underneath black umbrellas and raincoats, around 200 protesters called for the government to back down from their proposed sale of assets.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union vice president Howard Phillips told the crowd his union’s opposition to the sales was born of “bitter experience”.
“John Key will sell every single one of our assets that he can lay his hands on. We know that privatisation is no good for our society, economy, or our communities.”
He challenged the Labour and Green parties to ensure every national asset sold under National will be bought back when they are next in power.
People needed to unite their voices in opposition to the sales, he said.
“We are going to tell those bastards our assets are not theirs to sell, so leave them alone.”
People Power Ohariu spokesman John Maynard said United Future MP Peter Dunne had a lot to answer for in his support of the National party’s asset sales policy.
“The MP of Ohariu never sat in the chambers for one minute while this policy was being debated. He has undermined the democratic process by refusing to take part in the public debate.
“He has misrepresented the people of his electorate.”
The majority of New Zealanders did not support the asset sales, Mr Maynard said.
“When the last election was held, many people were opposed to the sale of state assets. The election was not a referendum on state asset sales, and we are here to remind the government.”