Out protesting – home and away. Brazil rocks, Auckland’s doing its bit.


Safer-Communities-Without-BennettLast night around 30-40 of us braved a cold, dark winter’s night to hold a picket outside a ‘public’ meeting Paula Bennett was having in Henderson.

I use the word ‘public’ in the loosest of senses.

Only selected citizens were allowed through the substantial police cordon surrounding both entrances to Bennett’s electorate office where said meeting was being held.

Our group Auckland Action Against Poverty called the picket because we seek to use every opportunity available to expose the daily damage Bennett, Key and their mates are inflicting on unemployed people, beneficiaries, low wage workers and their families.

The meeting last night was billed as being about ‘safer communities’.

Well we reckon that Bennett herself is a far bigger threat to ordinary people in all our communities than any issues around increasing police numbers, street lighting, traffic flows and the other matters I suspect the citizens concerned with ‘safer communities’ may have been discussing.

National’s welfare reforms are literally destroying lives and hopes, with their ever deepening focus on forcing sole parents, the sick, the injured and the disabled to compete with the unemployed and underemployed for the same insecure, low wage jobs.

The harm done by the welfare reforms will be a far bigger cause of desperate poverty, crime, addictions, homelessness and family violence than any contribution a lack of street lighting or visible police on the streets might make.

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So, there we were last night, doing our best to get our message across loud and clear to Ms Bennett and her few fans huddled inside.

No mainstream media were present. A short video of the protest is available here.

Meantime, inside Paula’s meeting, one member of the wider (ie non-National Party stooge) public discovered for himself just how safe a ‘safer communities’ meeting can really be when that party is in charge.

He was physically assaulted by four meeting attendees when he tried to support a motion being moved from the floor. Police stood idly by and watched the assault happen. Once it was over our friend was rapidly and uncomfortably ejected from the grounds by the men in blue. Kia ora e hoa – and I hope you’re doing OK this morning.

Auckland Action Against Poverty wasn’t the only group out protesting in our city yesterday.

In Glen Innes, a brave group of state housing tenants heckled Housing Minister Nick Smith when he arrived to launch the Tamaki redevelopment plan.

Sick of having their former homes trucked out of the district late at night and of being made promises by Government officials that are rarely kept, the tenants let Nick Smith know exactly what they thought of the private developers’ paradise into which parts of GI are being converted.

Meanwhile, Brazil is going off.

Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets in Rio de Janiero, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belem, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and elsewhere.

Rallies began with protests over a rise in bus fares, but quickly escalated, driven by massive anger at widespread housing relocations excused by upcoming World Cup and Olympics events in Brazil; and by poor quality public services, rising prices, deepening poverty and widespread corruption.

Peaceful protests became more militant following heavy handed police responses, including the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and beatings.

Numbers on the street continued to grow. Some activists lit fires outside the legislative assembly, windows were smashed, and some entered the national congress building.

A Peoples’ Cup is being staged in a dilapidated community centre in Rio de Janeiro. Women’s and men’s football teams from favelas under threat of destruction are competing in a tournament aimed at highlighting the inequities involved in billions in state cash being spent on glamour sporting events while hundreds of thousands are rendered homeless and unemployed as a result.

I am watching Brazil with interest.

At last large portions of one country’s population are standing up to a regime determined to use the hosting of international sporting events to further an agenda of privatisation and profiteering on the backs of the most vulnerable. Private developers stand to make millions once the favela homes are removed, building housing for the wealthy in their place.

Sound familiar anyone? A bit like GI writ large, really.

Our protests here in Auckland yesterday were infinitesimal compared to what’s happening in Brazil, Turkey and many other cities around the world right now.

However, I reckon at heart our issues are the same, as are the forces we’re up against.
Let’s be inspired by the actions of our sisters and brothers in Rio and Brasilia and Taksim Square.
Let’s keep building our small groups and our small protests – gradually, gradually – as more and more of us here at home come to understand that only by taking action collectively – and staunchly – can we begin to have the smallest impact on what those people down there in Parliament are doing to us and our communities.


  1. Massive big up’s to you Sue and to all protesters across Akld at the moment. It’s uplifting to see the fight back and it’s heartening to hear the toots of support from drivers. It’s also great to get the real view of what is happening rather than the sanitised 3news version of events. Thanks for sharing and informing. Those of us outside of Akld, I’m sure can feel more connected to what is happening because of it.

  2. You can rely on the police to protect fascism.

    You can rely on the police to protect looting and polluting.

    You can rely on the police to protect the interest and agendas of psychotic sociopaths.

    You can rely in the police to promote the destruction of the communities they live in and promote the destruction of the planet their children will have to try to scratch a living on.

    As the world falls off the energy cliff and the global financial-environmental predicament worsens I think you will be able to rely on the police to use ever-greater violence against the community in the protection of the interest of the elites.

    It’s hard to think of any period in the history of ‘civilisation’ when this has not been that way, though the names given to the thugs in uniforms have changed considerably, of course.

    The big difference this time round is that there is no way out……. 4oC+ rise in global temperature this century and complete wrecking of the climate systems that made civilisation possible and all that.

    Sadly, they’ll keep doing it till they can’t.

    And, presumably, at some stage in the near future, the covert fascism we live under at the moment will morph into overt fascism – arbitrary detention without charge, slave camps, maybe even death camps etc.

    One thing is for sure; the privileged elites will do anything to maintain their positions of privilege. And another thing for sure: the vast majority of the populace won’t see it coming, having been bought off by the trinkets of consumerism, even as the global food system starts to collapse.

    • As Dmitry Orlov reminds us, acceptable violence only flows downwards as the police do the bidding of their elite masters.

  3. Bear in mind that sports stadia were used as concentration camps, detention centres and places of execution by the Romans 2,000 years ago, and have been used similarly by numerous despotic regimes in recent times.

  4. Congratulations for taking action. I am Turkish and I live in New Zealand since 9 years my daughter was born here. I think it must be how we raise our children Just yesterday my daughter 8 was talking about the school breakfast programme. And how we are donating food to her school, to be delivered to a school just 20 minutes drive away. For her this doesn’t make any sense . If a 8 year old can understand that in a small country like NZ her mother works her life away and all the money goes to rent and bills and that she tells me there should be regulations, because if we would have money left we could help the children more than there are serious problems.

    Problems I see since 9 years . In Turkey there are problems but mostly the community helps to resolve them , here in New Zealand people are somehow scared of each other . First of all I don’t think that New Zealand needs to establish a strong community of Kiwi and Maori.

    Because this is not happening and on top of that letting many immigrants into the country made people put all there fear and anger on the people with different origins . I am feeling as more people get poorer the richer communities are getting scared that there rich areas might get effected and kind of infected 🙂 and somehow very silently with the facade of helping, actually just protecting there own environment,keeping Maori and foreigners out.

    They drop Breakfast cereal to another school and that’s it. Feed them a bit so they don’t come and take it. This is how I see the situation and as long Kiwi’s

    (this is another problem I have, that you can live in NZ might your whole life your child as well, you can have a company pay tax you can have a NZ passport all good and fine but there are no rules to be a KIWI, this kind of separation can’t be seen in any other country , we have a mixture of people different origin Turkish, Kurdish, Cerkez etc. but what difference they have is there culture there folklore there blood line so if you are borne into it you are one. )

    But not with the term KIWI there are no rules for it and as long this separation what seems very harmless in the beginning doesn’t stop ( I never met a Maori who called him or her self a Kiwi. ) all the meetings made here in NZ or the changes all of us trying to do for ourselves and our children will be very hard to reach.

    The government doesn’t help this separation between people to be lifted (same they do in every country) so you create separated communities and make them fear each other so they can not be united , if necessary you create one community poor and the other not. You give the same education in every school ? On paper yes but in reality you are cutting school founding’s , people in rich areas help there schools, in our school there was a fundraiser and nearly $70.000 was raised in one day, what has been put as an extra into the education where the Government founding comes short.

    How about a school in south Auckland ? I started to have problem after living 6 years in Herne Bay with my daughter . The last meeting I had with the principle of the school was : This is a very small community and the people here are so blessed, they kind of live in a bubble don’t they ? maybe it would be good for her if you would take her to Ponsonby Primary as there are more foreigners there ?????? (why now after 4 years what has changed ?)

    I never had more problems myself or my child since this last 1.5 years . We went to Matakana for a holiday and a 9 year old did stand with a shovel in front of my child stating that she can not play. We are all yellow hair you are not , was the statement ( It took me nearly a fight with the camping community fathers and mothers until I made the Mother convince her child to say sorry to my daughter (But what actually happened was a show of power, a small camping community with the same way of thinking, who infested there own children. Saying sorry was so hard for this little girl you could see the discuss and anger in a face of a 9 year old and the power she felt seeing her community behind her while my child was saying that’s OK she doesn’t need to say sorry because she was scared . I witnessed in the train station at Sylvia Park a 50 year old man who sad he is a safety guard in the Mall attacking and abusing a Chinese girl just because she asked him if this train goes to Britomart. Then I did get involved and sad I will call the police he told me I should not get involved as I do not look like these strangers, the girl was so scared she did hide behind me and sat next to me in the train .

    I see people changing there way then they see a Maori , After a movie with my daughter in the City we went to the bus stop, as usual the bus was late so there were lots of people and there is a bench but nobody is sitting because there is a Maori grandpa with his niece and he has Moko on his face, people don’t even look at his direction , we sat beside him children started to talk and share treats, we started a conversation people looked at me like I am a crazy person and I am putting myself and my child into danger.Then he realised I am getting annoyed he sad: don’t worry it is always like this. ???? In schools there are lots of emails coming about stranger danger believe me the image in peoples had of the stranger is obvious .
    I have no idea how they do it but even my daughter started to hold my hand when we cross a Maori origin person.

    The other day we went to the park in Orakei and she was very scared that I am talking to these people, she sad mum they say they are dangerous. ??? who says that ???

    My daughter had to give a big effort to get into the Kapa Haka group as it was stated to her just Maori origin and Pacific origin people can join. On the pick up I found her in the office complaining that this is discrimination, she was 7 and that pacific people are not Maori so why she can’t join she is Turkish. The explanation about this was even more horrifying : This is a programme to help Maori to be better at school ??? This should be a program to break down the walls not to create separation stating somehow to other children “You are good but Maori children need extra as they are not good ” what is that ??? I had some parents telling me I shouldn’t support my daughter with the Kapa Haka thing ?? as they even don’t let there children to use any words or songs they learn at school in Maori in there households . That I might don’t know but they are….. people?? You must be kidding me . Please address this issue this is very important for all of us.

    Believe me it doesn’t get better as more the rich get scared and the Governments support this as all around the world people has to put there fear aside and UNITE . UNITY is the key to all evil. People in New Zealand start to be more social and sometimes may use public transport and get out of there used environment to understand that there are a lot of issues what come from separation . Solidarity, humanity and freedom be with all of us .

    • Hi Tijen. I’m sorry for the experiences you and your daughter have had in NZ. It’s shameful that there are those in our society who continue to be reactive towards others, based on their own misguided fear and ignorance.

      I agree with your points about our separated society. Personally I feel it is becoming more so. It is increasingly fragmented, selfish and uncaring. The divisions of wealth create mistrust and fear among communities that should otherwise be standing together, in solidarity as you say. It is good to see the actions in Henderson and G.I, it is a sign of hope but for too long NZer’s haven’t really stood up together as a nation. A unified and socially engaged society would do so.

    • TJDEN _ Are you honest about this, and that you do not understand NZ and Maori!

      As a permanent resident from Central europe I had difficulties, but I have to, and mostly accept, what is a go here.

      You cannot expect to come to another country, for them to bow or bend over backwards to assist you, there is a give and take. I was told this endlessly, and I also have issues.

      I have real issues, not just such you mention, rather serious health, even life and death issues. Maybe , and I ask myself this every day, this country is not the right one for you, or for that sake for me?

      They are rather unrepentant about what they do, are they not, legal, right or not.

      Best of luck


    • Is it not though, that Maori and Pacifica feel threatened, or at least marignalised, due to high level migration from other groups, so they are becoming even more discriminated and marginalised than ever before. Are they supposed to embrace the Pakeha and Asian focused migration drive? What do you expect them to do and think? Would you love tens of thousands or millions of Han Chinese move into Turkey and claim equal rights? Get a reality check, perhaps.

      • Hi Marc , I was born in Germany so I am a born immigrant I didn’t just go to a country to live. Also I am very sorry to hear about your health .

        I do not expect anybody to bend over or to assist, as I am very capable to assist myself as with economical globalisation the world became a much smaller place, there are not many differences anymore .

        What I am trying to point out is that not Maori as I never did see a Maori feeling threatened about anybody . I have a lot of Maori friends , but what I see is that the Kiwi population feels threatened and with there rising fear they have for the Maori population it effects everybody.

        Don’t read what I wrote and think ohhh she is an immigrant and complaining .

        I am in NZ since 9 years because I couldn’t go, not even for a holiday . As there is a Removal Child from NZ on top of my head .

        The only reason of this is the regulations NZ had until 2004 , Every child born in NZ becomes a NZ citizen . But nobody tells you that , even I could leave the country I am not able to take my child with me for more then 3 months as she needs a Visa to go to Turkey , what is quite ridicules isn’t it.

        So actually I accepted the fact that I am now living in New Zealand and that my daughter is going to have her future here.

        So what I am trying to say is Everybody should put there experiences and thinks they would like to change ( you can see much clearer when you have difficulties) together and try to make New Zealand a much more peacefully and liveable place for everybody.

        Its the same like this : We in Europe did live the change of housing problems and with it rising ugly apartments, what ends up with a corruption for the eye and the soul,it is plane ugly.

        Why knowingly watch this happen in New Zealand , Why don’t try from experience to protect the place you are living and the people in it from the coming danger.

        Same with education : In Germany when I was a kid there was lots of discrimination and racism for some people it did get to such an extend that communities were formed there people became extremely Nationalist gags among foreners started to develop , then against it young new Nazi groups formed and so on …. Why look at New Zealand and say wow I saw this happening before this is going to happen to NZ in probably 10 years time . Chinese gangs and then even more Maori gangs even what do I know Kiwi gangs …(there is already a problem like this. Why don’t talk about the problems we see and try to solve them all together rather then saying oh I am an immigrant I don’t care . Your country is where you live and that’s it. If you are not willing to put your hard and soul into it then everybody should pack up and go anyways.

        I do not feel less or threatened because I am an immigrant as I sad before I wouldn’t know because I was born like this.

        I learned my own mother Tung than I was 15 . My Mum is Bulgarian origin, my fathers family is Yugoslavian origin.

        But we are Turks . To be a Turk doesn’t come from a blood line we are people who were in that particular time in that place of the world. we were attacked, so altogether we did fight .and then with that togetherness of this fight lines were drawn and we called ourselves Turk . half of my Mothers family was still on the other side of the border that is actually the same reason we have a Kurd problem . ( some people see it that way some don’t some are very happy to live under one flag and some want to establish there own country and that is why a terrorist group called PKK was formed.)

        We as human beings have to protect what we have a tree in Turkey is as important to me as a tree in New Zealand or any other place.

        I want New Zealand to be a peaceful and happy place with not such problems . I want to see when there are people being evicted from there homes like in Tamaki all the woman stand up and understand the importance, not just looking at it and say it doesn’t effect me , or they are not my kind . I want to see every sensible person there not just a group of local Maori and Pacifika women. What happens today will happen again tomorrow separating ourselves from each other will make it worse as when the day comes you get effected and nobody stands beside you then you will be just kicked away .

        I hope you get better soon
        Kind Regards

        • Thanks Tijen for explaining yourself a bit more.

          I must admit I misunderstood some of what you had commented before. Yes, it is essential that a sense of unity is developed, across ethnic and cultural levels.

          Sadly the government we have does not really want unity. They are dishonest when they talk about unity, as they have their own interpretation of what unity is or should be, and where it is applied.

          One thing I have always disliked about New Zealand is the relatively high number of private schools, which tend to cater to the children and parents of mostly the well-off. I would rather see resources spread across a public school system, so that all get a better deal.

          The introduction of charter schools is divisive, and that is what National and ACT want.

          Yes, and having people join protestors would be an overdue move. I have the impression some people do not want to be seen with known protestors, as their own pre-judicial friends, workmates and families would frown on them protesting.

          It tends to mostly be the same people out there taking a stand. I can only appeal to all readers and commenters, same as bloggers on various sites, to not just express your disagreement, your views and anger by writing, but take a stand out in the streets.

          The ones in power tend to shrug bloggers off as not worth listening to. But when hundreds or thousands go out and protest, this cannot be overlooked. Also do they then need to make police and so available, to guide traffic and so forth.

          That has an effect and sends a message, more than just commenting online.

          The social fabric in New Zealand is broken, and I fear things will get worse before they get better.

          So every person counts, who takes a stand against the trend to injustice, marginalisation, the blame game and division.

  5. second paragraph should be DO not DON’T

    First of all I DO think that New Zealand needs to establish a strong community of Kiwi and Maori.

    Sorry and sorry for the spelling mistakes doing my best 🙂

  6. They put up the price of public tansport in Sao Paolo. They used bulldozers on the trees of Gezi Park. But in both cities, the initial attacks by the Neoliberal Empire on the rights of people and planet were followed by the violence of the plastic bullet shooting, tear gas choking RiotCop.

    Now there are hundreds of thousands of people rising up in both countries. We have had enough of Neoliberalism. Many have had enough of Capitalism itself. What began in Tunisia two years ago is spilling into the streets of Europe and America.

    In Auckland, there is a seething resentment at the destruction of the working class community of Glen Innes. There is anger at gridlock and a public transport system that is not working. There are strikes breaking out led by some of the poorest workers in Aotearoa at the McDonalds of Panmure, Clendon and New Lynn.

    Could one of these struggles ignite a wider movement, as happened in Sao Paolo or Istanbul?

    Socialist Aotearoa forum This Thursday, 730pm at Unite

  7. Sue, and others, from AAAP and so forth, sorry I could not make it, wished though I had added my protest against Bennett and the government’s agenda.

    Sadly we live in a de-facto dictatorship, yes, you may wonder, but that is what NZ is now. We have a government pass social welfare “reforms” that are breaching human rights, disability conventions signed by NZ, that harasses beneficiaries already, and that will bring in outsourced work capacity assessments along the lines in the UK, where at least 1.100 took their lives in 2011, due to pressures by their welfare departments and biased assessors.

    The mainstream media here are not even interested, they have since 2008 become infatuated with National and one John Key, and you only need to go through the ranks of now present top “modrerators”, “reporters” and “broadcasters” that lead the media from all areas. There are mostly National Party members and open supporters sitting all over media roles, and no wonder the government gets away with breaking laws and standards day in and out. The mainstream media are complicit in destroying democracy, or what is left of it, in New Zealand, same as Pinochet took over rule and controlled the media in Chile under his dictatorship.

    Most out there have no idea and knowledge about the welfare assault going on, and that 58 thousand sickness beneficiaries will be turned into job seekers from 16 July. There will also be work capacity tests for the most disabled and sick, no matter what.

    There is already an agenda, and apparently even tendering going on, to pay some outsourced operators fees to get mentally ill into open employment. The “reward” focus will mean, that mentally ill and unstable will be forced to work while they may not be ready and capable to cope with this. No worries, it is all sanctioned now, and advocacy services for beneficiaries or disabled have already faced many budget cuts.

    Learn about the most complying Mangere Budgeting Service, and how they are hollowed out now, having to lay off half of their staff. Welfare is being destroyed in NZ, those that do not believe it, talk to the ones affected and involved, and those that know, as most is kept secret and not written about. We are persecuted as beneficiaries as I write, as once they know we make efforts to resist and write this, they claim we can work on the open market doing the same.

    The war is on, for all, that is especially the poorest and weakest, and they and Bennett have no shame. She earns over 5000 dollars a week, and she does not want to know where she comes from.

    Labour betrayed us, we need a new movement and party, but for at least time being join Mana and perhaps the Greens, to take a solid stand.

    I had a Brazilian flatmate not long ago, by the way, things there are not great, but not disastrous either, and usually Brazilians do not go out and protest. It needs a strong and good reason for that to happen, she said. So it is happening, and that tells us a heck of a lot about what goes on there. Brazilians, we are with you!


    • Marc, I spent six months in Brazil and was told more than once that there would never be a revolution in their country because, at the first sign of trouble, one had only to put some music on and they would all start dancing the lambada!
      Joking aside, good luck to all those protesters.

  8. NZ had a strong community. I grew up in it during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was destroyed by neoliberalism and any one with any get up and go has got up and left. Our country is fragmented and overrun by greedy scum.

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