Friday’s direct action event protesting the budget was a success. I attended. I participated. I pushed and I got shoved. I yelled and I got angry. Without Auckland Action Against Poverty’s event the latest budget would have been rolled out with almost nothing more than some mild mannered platitudes and hand wringing. Yet even though we managed to send a loud and angry message to the government and everyone that attended the event there are still those detractors that are decrying our actions. Those patronising and uninformed paternal voices from the cheap seats that want us to either sit down and shut up or protest more politely. Essentially, its middle aged white men & women telling us to protest prettier.

This happens with regular monotony after an AAAP direct action or in fact any action when the protestors show any kind of emotion. While I expect it from the right wing as a form of discrediting and neutralising our message, what is disheartening is when we hear it from those who claim to be on the left. When people that claim to be our allies start embracing the right wing rhetoric and ignoring the opportunity to support our message you know that something is wrong. In this particular instance I’m going to put it down to ignorance. Ignorance around the methodology of direct action and ignorance of the issues regarding campaigns involving beneficiaries.

This event was planned. It was advertised publicly on Facebook and through our various networks. The police and the politicians knew we were coming. So did the media. It was an organised non-violent direct action. We were not armed with anything other than our voices and our conviction. Our numbers were not huge, but we were vocal and many of us were angry. Why wouldn’t we be angry? $25 a week or $3.60 a day is not a game changer. Winter is here. $3 doesn’t buy a lot of power on a Globug. It also comes at a great cost. Women must return to work when their child hits three regardless of whether this is into meaningful work or in the best interest of the child. This ridiculous offering is far too little and much too late.

Our messaging on our banners, our press releases and all the media following the demonstration reflected why we were there and why we were angry. That is a successful action. We weren’t there to win hearts and minds. None of us believed that anything we could say would alter the position of the people inside. We were there to challenge the perception that everything was fine. We were there to challenge the narrative. By doing this we also opened a space to further the conversation. Following the action there was a window of time where anyone could contribute to the conversation. In effect, we kicked a field goal, and everyone was talking about whether it was between the posts.

This is the opportunity for other groups and political parties that support our position to jump in and translate the messaging. Instead what we got from some quarters was whining about how we shouldn’t even kick the ball because they thought we were offside.

Tim O’Shea and Lisa Er from the newly formed Awareness Party are perfect examples. Instead of using the opportunity to focus on the facts and add meaningfully to the discourse they spent the weekend on Facebook decrying our rowdy actions. They are proponents of peaceful protests. Their contribution to the discussion about the budget was two single paragraph Facebook updates. Neither of them seemed to have any idea of what AAAP does, or how we do it. Neither have given any thought to the nuance around campaigning for the rights of beneficiaries.

Tim O’Shea used Unites Zero Hours Contract campaign as a comparison. No argy bargy there he points out. He also mentions some of the marches he has attended. Good for him. I’m totally in support of a range of different action. Who doesn’t love attending Banners on the Beach on a sunny afternoon with the family and a picnic? The thing is beneficiaries aren’t baby pandas. ‘Dole bludgers’ don’t have the same emotional pull as dolphins. If, as suggested, we had a nice, pretty and polite protest down Queen Street, highlighting the plight of the poor, what discourse do you think would follow? If we organised for hundreds of mothers with their children to walk down Queen Street can you imagine the commentary and abuse that would attract? Do I need to spell it out?

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Another great tool for campaigning, and one used effectively in Zero Hours, is the personal narrative. It is a great thing when you can get the people affected to share their story, in every day terms and language, with a large audience. The stories of workers trying to manage with no idea of what income they would receive in a week resonated with the workers of NZ. How does that work out for beneficiaries? Remember what’s happened in the past when Paula Bennett then went and revealed personal information about someone prepared to go on camera. For some issues this is effective. We tried it with prostitution law reform. I was one of the people publicly outed. Actions have reactions. The plight of the prostitute, like the plight of the sole parent has been hijacked.

The other aspect of this conversation that I haven’t yet touched on is how patronising and paternal much of the negative commentary is. Perhaps if we had more experience and were smarter we would know that this kind of action makes people uncomfortable. We, who choose to go and participate in these actions, are sentient adults. Most of us spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the greater political picture. We are not novices. The direct actions are only a part of what we do. AAAP also lobbies at a legislative level and we operate an advocacy service for beneficiaries. We are at the front line. Many of us have a history with a range of other issue, many of us work within community focused organisations and we also have no shortage of academics in our network.

There is a place for peaceful protest. There is also a place for civil disobedience and a time when more vocal and physical direct action is required. Where would The Awareness Party have been when Hone Heke was cutting down the flagpole and what advice might they have had for him?

Instead of jumping on the right wing bandwagon and condemning our behaviour why not use the opportunity to discuss the issue. We were committed enough to create the space. We need others brave enough to continue the conversation. If our actions and yelling make you uncomfortable, good. Poverty is not pretty.

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  1. Good on you Kate
    It makes me wonder how the current bunch of so called journalists and commentators would have reported the anti apartheid demonstrators during the s africa test series.
    I am also fed up with the usual rent a mob label given to people exercising their democratic right to protest.
    I, along with thousands of others, protested in Christchurch at the anti tppa rally and we were given lip service by the media and all the PM could say is that he was disappointed by the protesters.
    It is a fundamental right, and shows the health of a democracy, to protest against the powerful and to stand up for those that cannot……power to the people!

  2. In the face of the abuse that this regime hands out to the citizens of NZ, we are still expected to STFU. Nah, the time for playing nice has passed, when a govt refuses to listen to the ppl, what do we have left. The only thuggery I saw going on was the police throwing a woman to the ground – HARD. That was unnecessary and just plain nasty. There is going to be a whole lot more protesting coming up, expect a lot more of the same. WE ARE ANGRY. WE ARE BEING ABUSED.

  3. It is an unfortunate reality that many who are effected by poverty are unable to afford the travel to take part in these events, to have their voice heard. This reality is very convenient for the ruling class. The middle class, also conveniently, write off the low participation rate as apathy of the poor, while repeating the mantra THERE IS NO POVERTY IN NEW ZEALAND! Great article Kate.

  4. The protest outside Sky City, where John Key held his post budget speech, in front of the selected “elite” of our society, all protected by well trained, 6 ft something security bullies in blue, black and yellow, was intense, and showed some unpleasant aspects, I admit.

    But when looking at the real socio-economic realities in this country, that is “for sale” across the board, it should perhaps not surprise the ones that live in air-conditioned villas, mansions, and drive around in luxury European or Japanese cars.

    I hear many in the “Ueber Middle Class” ‘Main Shit Media’ (MSM) are “appalled” about the behaviour by some protestors, they call them “thugs”, “scum”, “morons”, “arseholes” and so forth, as their protected world does not wish to be upset by dissenters.

    Perhaps, yes, perhaps the media should spend a little time examining the real world that many of us face?

    Perhaps they should investigate the Designated Doctor racket that goes on, all funded generously be Work and Income NZ (WINZ) now:

    So NBPH and WINZ are (in Nelson/Tasman) looking, or have been looking, for new Designated Doctors, commissioned by MSD to examine beneficiaries for their health conditions and work capabilities, and there has been plenty anecdotal evidence that these “doctors”, trained by MSD’s Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt (the one who likens “benefit dependence” to “drug dependence”), are hardly as “independent” as they claim they are.

    They now get paid $ 250 PLUS GST a “hit”, that is for examining or re-examining WINZ clients with health conditions, and often they only run them through a range of questions, and a brief physical check-up, taking no more than 15 minutes. It used to be only around $ 140 a couple of years ago.

    Some may take a little longer, but hardly more than 20 to 30 minutes. On top of the $ 250 for that “service”, they can claim another $ 25 plus GST for a “host doctor report”, and also a travel allowance of $ 1.32 per km, should they need to travel to an agreed place.

    That puts the $ 25 (gross, before abatement / claw-backs) per beneficiary family with kids into a new perspective, I’d say.

    Lest we forget what is behind all that:

    I get increasingly disgusted by the “media” we have, populated now by the more “matured”, baby boomer, well to do, once free education beneficiaries, affordable housing advantage takers, now living a life in comfort, frowning on the ones that came after them.

    They frown on people upsetting them and their wine glass and champagne glass swinging dinner meetings, but have NO time doing the job that REAL journalists once did.

    Shame on them!

    • Hey don’t bash the boomers. Do you think we all wanted this ? No way! This is NOT the NZ I signed up for.Yes, I got near as dammit free education but it was NOT my idea to make education too expensive for any but the middle classes. I am into a fair deal for everyone as I ALWAYS have been and I know plenty of other boomers who are horrified by the actions of successive governments to screw the most vulnerable amongst us. Generalisations lose support where it makes better sense to keep away from the Us and Them that divides us. Leave that tactic to the government and it’s cronies.

    • Rhona, it just so happens to be, that the more prominent, senior, powerful media front persons, and also chief editors and managers, seem to belong to the younger ones of the “baby boomer” generation.

      So that was more an observation, and I did NOT intend to label ALL “baby boomers” as being of the mindset that now so much seems to prevail in the MSM, e. g. in a person like Paul Henry.

      I know that there are many “baby boomers” who disagree with the government and the direction the country has taken, but at the same time, their generation did generally do rather well, and still holds a lot of power and influence on our political thinking, same as in business and economic terms.

      Like every generation, a fair few of them tend to forget where they came from, when they get older, that is too many of them, not all.

      So forgive me for the use of words in a manner that may have led to you perceiving I am anti “boomers”.

  5. More power to you comrade.

    Please continue along these same lines as it certainly makes it easier for people like me to paint you as a threat 😉

    • That’s ok buddy….go say gidday to your beloved Fuhrer…because gutless little jerks like you HAVE been a threat to social equity in this country for 35 years.

    • Thanks for sharing your point of view, Kate.

      And yes, I recall very painfully the treatment meted out by Bennett and her right-wing cronies on various quasi-fascist blogs, to the two solo-mums who dared criticise her.

      I’ve written several blogposts on how this government treats peaceful dissent – whether it be two powerless solo-mums, or journalists like Jon Stevenson, Nicky Hager, and Glenn Greenwald.

      The Right do not appreciate criticism. Any rhetoric from them on free speech is a sham – unless that free speech is used on their behalf. (Gosman’s juvenile remark above is further evidence of their attitudes.)

      Remember how Key wept crocodile tears on the attack on journalism in France – while here in New Zealand he has repeatedly derided Nicky Hager and Jon Stevenson, and referred to Greenwald as a “loser” and “henchman”.

      And if the (unsubstantiated) allegation is correct that Key demanded from Mediaworks’ Mark Weldon that he “get rid of that leftie bastard [John Campbell]” – then that reveals the rotting corruption upon which National is built on.

      Make no mistake; if National used the military to seize power after a “terrorist attack”; implement a “state of emergency”; suspended Parliament; detained dissidents (which includes me), and imposed One Party rule for an undisclosed duration – I suspect at least a quarter of the population would whole-heartedly support such a coup.

      Fascism, or it’s lesser sibling, slavish obedience to Authority, runs deep in New Zealand’s subterranean psyche.

      Just witness the sickening, fawning over the recent visit by a certain ginger-haired royal, in the last few weeks.

  6. Wow Kate – great article. You know you are speaking truth when trolls like Gosman vote and then enlist the troll brigade to vote against you.

    The reaction to your truth is directly proportional to the amount of blue froth all over the forked tongues of right-wing trolls like Gosman.

    Keep speaking and writing truth – it will set us all free.

    • Reaction against??? I positively encourage this sort of behaviour. It is great entertainment value if nothing else.

      • So glad you are entertained you great steaming twit,go and sit on Keys lap he may play with your Pony tail,you big girls blouse,

  7. I’m neither middle class nor white, so I guess I don’t fit your equally patronizing and naive racial stereotyping.

    If your object was to be heard, you were.

    If your object was to be heard and supported, you failed miserably.

    I remember the days when it invariably used to be the Police who looked like the violent uneducated thugs. Times have changed.

  8. I applaud that protest. Matter of fact its in keeping with past generations before who were not so gutless, squeamish and politically correct to worry about stepping on peoples toes who are acting like arseholes.

    AKa …neo liberals with this latest example of the idiot from Merryil Lynch.

    The food riots of the 1930’s.

    The miners strikes. Of which there have been numerous.

    The protests of those in the first world war.

    The protests of the Vietnam era.

    The list goes on and on….how about Kate Sheppard? …how many well off middle class women are the recipient of THAT generations activism ?

    If people are going to take the view of that idiot Gosman we would all still be living in tents saying ” Yessir Massa” !!! ” Don’t whomp me , Massa !!!”

    The hell with being polite and some sort of servile namby pamby deferring to these neo liberal treasonous rich bastards who shit and fart just like the rest of us.

    That sort of servile attitude may exist in other backwards , banana republic despots country’s but as for Gosman and his ilk…

    You can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    And don’t even think there’s any chance of getting any apology for sticking up for what was once, an egalitarian culture.

    And you better believe not everyone’s going to bend over backwards and take it up the arse for a corrupt nasty little worm like Key.

    • I think you’re being a bit melodramtic. Fact is these sort of violent protests turn off middle nzers, and like it or not middle nzers are who you need on your side if you want a change of govt.
      So while this behaviour might give you an instant thrill, long term it’s self defeating.

      • I don’t think the AAAP has parliamentary ambitions. The article clearly states, expectations from whomever is in government are about the same. 1981 wasn’t about changing the government either. It appears the detractors are either too young or too old to remember, but there is the inevitable prospect of a hard hitting reminder of those days of 34 years ago coming at us hard and fast. The protestors actually on the streets were a small minority compared to the rugby going public whose moral compass stays in the drawer on game day. There is as much at stake here if not more. Impoverishment is the plight of a lot more than just beneficiaries and impoverishment by decree is an act of violence. Violence begets violence, just ask King Louis and Marie-Antoinette. The very same factors present then are being brought into play here and around the so-called developed world. Why would anyone expect a different reaction now? Stubborn refusal to accept the problem didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Fix it or repeat it … that’s the choice, there is no other.

      • Nothing melodramatic about making very sure there’s an issue at hand for the public to become aware of – what do you want ?

        People to snivel up to Key and co and say ” Please Sir …could you please not do such and such ? ”

        Don’t hand me that sort of watered down crap, mate.

        If you think that’s a bit ‘ melodramatic…then you better get out in the real world …I’ll give you an example that might make you think…

        You think its ok to see a soldier being bayoneted in the guts?

        You think its ok to look at pictures of piles of dead people in Nazi concentration camps?

        Sorry to burst your bubble Mr Melodrama man , – but that aint some Steven Speilberg movie scene mate , that actually happened.

        That’s human beings .

        That’s life. And sadly for many reality . And you complain about a little mild civil disobedience like this?

        Get real.

        And if your so much of a wimp,…if the middle class in this country cant stand to have a few mild issues brought to them with a bit more passion than a washed out knitting class you really have led a sheltered life , Sonny Jim.

        Get with the program mate…and don’t be such a sniveling namby pamby.

      • Dear Michael of Mouse not Men, this was not a PR exercise. I have no parliamentary ambitions. I try, very consciously, to live my politics daily & within my community.
        This protest was democracy in action. I fear things may get uglier!

        • Yes, they may regrettably get uglier some time in the future. Yesterday I watched the repeat of Question Time and some speeches in Parliament. Anne Tolley and other Nat MPs were boasting about their “support” for those on benefits, and how National in government raised benefits the first time in 43 years.

          The other day (after that Budget announcement) I went into our local WINZ office. I saw only depressed, sombre, serious and rather unhappy faces.

          One client did apparently say something nasty to a case-manager, because security were discussing details after the person left, and soon the police turned up, and talked with the case manager and branch manager.

          What damned “support” are they talking about?

          The only extra spending is on more case managers doing “more intensive case management” (pressuring clients to get into whatever low paid jobs, even if they are sick and disabled), and on more money for their “designated (hatchet) doctors”, now getting nearly twice as much in fees from MSD for re-assessing sick, injured and disabled for “work capability” and benefit entitlement on health grounds. They now get $ 250 plus GST for an “examination”, many of whom have been affected describe as nothing much else than an interrogation about their attitude to work. There have been appalling recommendations by such GPs that work for WINZ, that go to Health and Disability Advisors, who mostly accept them and expect case managers to act upon them.

          And the Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt is in charge of “training” them. He has in his presentations compared benefit dependence with “drug dependence”!

          It is disgusting what is going on, supposedly based on “evidence” delivered by selected researchers, who were also responsible for the harassment of disabled on benefits in the UK.

          Look at the Budget allocation on health spending. While the population has grown, real spending per person has decreased. So what damned “support” is there for sick and disabled on benefits? No real support to provide them with more treatments.

  9. Kia ora Kate,

    Great article. This line particularly..

    “We were committed enough to create the space. We need others brave enough to continue the conversation. If our actions and yelling make you uncomfortable, good. Poverty is not pretty”

    Thank you for this.

  10. I support the right to protest, I don’t support spitting on people, being verbally abusive or physically intimidating. There’s a line, and I think the protesters crossed it.

    Paul Henry, love or loathe him, did a good job interviewing John Key and holding him to accounton child poverty. On the day in question he was going to a charity lunch which raised money for places like the Auckland Citynd ttheir City Mission.

    Regardless of feeling agrieved by your allies not supporting this, I thibj the general public would have had

    • You support the right to protest so long as it doesn’t ruffle your political leanings.

      So long as those in opposition protest in a muted , barely noticeable way standing on some obscure street corner where no one notices.

      In short – if its against your personal interests and adverse to your bank account – you don’t support protest at all.

      Tell the truth.

      • Not at all. I support people protesting about anything they want. What I do not support is protestors who verbally abuse or physically intimidate other people while protesting.

        • But it is okay with you for the government and WINZ to systematically bully & abuse beneficaries ?

          Paul Henry is a National supporter who has done nothing to hold John key to account. He applauded the $25 increase and failed to interveiw anyone with an alternate veiw or anyone regarding the protest. This isn’t about him, but he does epitomise everything wrong with MSM. He is racisist, sexist & elitist. He makes no attempt to appear balanced.

  11. Kate, you just keep protesying and voicing your anger. Things are NOT ok in this country and any silence would be misconstrued as assent.

  12. Now I’m at a computer I can finish off what I was saying.

    Let me be clear again – I support the right to protest and I think it’s part of the democratic fabric of our society. However, I do not support spitting, being verbally abusive or physically intimidating others.

    Regardless of feeling aggrieved by your allies not supporting this, I think the fact of the matter is a lot of people, regardless of political affiliation, think this was more an unruly mob that people protesting about specific issues.

    What were you actually protesting about? As the media focussed on Paul Henry being harassed it wasn’t clear at all what the purpose of the protest was or even what specific things you were concerned about.

    I understand the “War on the Poor” idea, and I also am the first to say that $25/wk does not address the issue of child poverty. But I think it is a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction.

    Harassing Paul Henry is really ironic. Leading up to the budget he was one main stream commentator who was really holding John Key to his election promise of addressing child poverty. When he interviewed on Breakfast he brought this up and made John Key publicly accountable for what he’d said.

    On the day of the protest Paul Henry was going to a charity event that raises money for organisations such as the Auckland City Mission.

    Paul Henry was spat on, verbally abused and physically intimidated. I think this is unacceptable behaviour and really undermines other groups who go out to protest.

    “Shame on you! Sell out! Scum! You piece of shit! You sack of shit! You are a selfish man!”

    Paul Henry was on his way to a charity event to raise money for the Auckland City Mission. Leading up to the budget he was one of the only mainstream commentators to challenge the PM on his promises to address child poverty.

    You guys fucked up by targeting him and I hope you do the right things and formally apologise.

    I don’t hide behind internet usernames and computer screens; if anyone wants to discuss this further I can be contacted on 027 702 0311.

    • Paul Henry is one of the most condescending, arrogant, self righteous, even obscene “media personalities” this country has. He only gets away with his more hideous comments and conduct, because he wraps it into ironic or supposedly “humorous” language, and giggles in a silly fashion while doing all this.

      He has the charm of a hilarious charlatan, and while he really upsets some, the more politically incorrect, supposed “freedom of speech” supporters, they often love him for stepping over the line.

      Perhaps you should remember that he was basically forced to seek another alternative career in Australia not so long ago, as his offensive “jokes” were considered scandalous, and too embarrassing for his former NZ employer.

      He was not cherished at all in Australia, while trying morning TV there, and really a “nobody” there.

      So he came back, used his “networking skills” and exclusive “contacts”, to return to a job on TV3 not long ago, and now both on TV3 and Radio Live.

      To conclude, he has many enemies, as he has offended and insulted many while using racist, sexist and other language, which he called “jokes”. For him to now go around and slam protesters to have “assaulted” him, is a bit rich, I find.

      Where is the evidence that someone spat at him, I ask?

      He was confronted, ok, and I did not like what one or two did, who I saw on video footage. But that footage only shows some of what happened.

      For you to defend Paul Henry for one interview he did with John Key, asking a bit firmly about Key’s position on child poverty, that is not so convincing. Henry is continuously talking a lot of crap and continues to have a dim view of many others, when on his show for Mediaworks.

      Him supporting some “social cause” is also simply a bit like a rich man dropping a few pennies into a donation box at church or a supermarket. Henry is a BIG earner, benefits immensely in this country, from low taxes, and many perks, can travel overseas very often, can live in a great house, drive posh cars and dress in designer clothes. His attitude to poverty is along the lines of what is “fashionable” in the US. Donate a bit, and leave the rest to non government agencies, to deliver.

      I defend a person’s right to free speech and freedom to move, including Paul Henry, but in this case, I think the media and Paul Henry made more of the “scene” than what may really have occurred there.

    • Further to my comment, Paul Henry is also, or has at least been, an “embassador” for Sky City, promoting that corporate business, also running a huge gambling casino here.

      He get cheap drinks, dinners, and many favours doing so.

      As part of his “job” on Radio and TV he promotes certain businesses all the time, on air, to get heard, noticed, to make more business, including Sky City.

      So he has clearly aligned himself with certain large, corporate business interests, who put profit before social responsibilities, e.g. causing risks and harms to gamblers with gambling addictions.

      There have been many repeated reports of Sky City Casino not enforcing rules they claim they follow.

      When I hear “Paul Henry”, those things come to mind.

      He may after all have some “social conscience”, maybe a bad conscience, but I see and hear rather little of that.

      Him on his former late night Paul Henry Show also using his daughter – and mother (as a “back drop”), to help boost his own ego, I found a bit sickening.

      I know no other “media personality” that does such things.

      My hope is that more turn off when he is on the morning show, as his constant dumb giggles, his sick, stupid jokes and endless promotion of light-hearted infotainment, same as of many “sponsors” and advertisers, are a real turn off. His conduct makes him a complete mercenary for commercial interests.

  13. You seemed to be quite concerned about the poor, how noble of you! What exactly do you do for the poor apart from protest about their plight? Do you do anything of substance or are you one of these feral type people that moans and shouts and expects government to take money off others to give to others?

    • The government already does that to the tune of millions in tax breaks and grants for already wealthy multinationals and private companies. Rio Tinto ring a bell? Team NZ? The SCF set-up? The recent grant to the Oracle syndicate owned by Larry Ellison (worth $54 billion) The list is extensive. These people only need to ask when they want something for nothing so you’re being very selective on who you call feral. The only expectation is that the re-distribution is fair and shows some recognition of the investment in people. 90% of today’s benefit dependents will be different people in 12 months time. That’s testimony to their desire to work and be independent … why undermine that with stereotyping, and marginalising hate speech? That belongs on Slater’s blog not here.

    • Hey, what would I know, I only have worked in lower socio economic communities in my role for 5 years.

  14. [Pseudonym; fake email addy; intemperate language. Please remind us why we should publish your trash-talk? – ScarletMod]

  15. The irony of it is that Paul Henry recently devoted time on his show to host Professor Innes Asher, the child poverty action group spokesperson, giving her time to publicize the plight of child poverty and how much money they need to address it and how little the government was giving them in comparison.

    Research who you are calling ‘scum’ in future.

    • That professor was indeed on Paul Henry’s show that Friday morning right after the budget, and on that he deserves some credit. But such gestures are a rarity on his programs.

      He only gave her a little time to answer to questions, as the more silly bits and stunts on his show appeared to be “pressing” him for dedicating time for that instead.

      In this case, I would presume that the AAAP people were busy organising their day of action, rather than watch the Paul Henry program that same morning. So they will not have been aware of this visit by the professor.

  16. Quite interesting that the neo liberal trolls come on this post when an effective technique has driven home a point and has gained media coverage.

    I would suggest that perhaps this is a very effective method. It certainly got them riled up enough to try to counter what was a very visual and demonstrative method of weakening their stance.

    We need more of this to drive home how placid and compliant the populace have become.

    If they cant stand this mild show of civil protest then that demonstrates how weak and dangerously soft and open they are to neo liberal manipulation.

    I would say you have rediscovered the spirit of former generations who fought hard and long for social change.

    Ignore the trolls.

    Swat them off as you would irritating sandflys at a beach picnic.

    • What point has it driven home again? I don’t think it was at all obvious what was being protested about based on what the media showed.

      Keep in mind, that while you may think this media coverage was good, I’d suggest that a lot of the general public watching the news and seeing this, would think that the protestors were an unruly mob and have no real idea what they were hoping to achieve.

      • Ray, we here know that the media tend to only show certain pictures about protests, e.g. such where there is some “action” that they consider “exciting” or “useful” to get ratings.

        I dare to say the footage that we were shown is only a small bit of what actually happened, and especially the ones on TV3 and Radio Live had a special interest what happened to Paul Henry, as he is a “colleague” of theirs.

        In the past I attended some protest marches and actions, that were peaceful and also attended by many people.

        Sadly too often the media do not even cover many protests, because there is no “action” that they may find “exciting” enough.

        The media we have tends to be rather biased, and too often they look down on beneficiaries and their advocates, unless they find a willing individual “struggler” with an emotive sob story, who is prepared to have her or his private sphere and personal affairs exposed.

        Even then the story’s theme tends to be, she or he tried all to get a job and get off the benefit. The MSM have conditioned much “mainstream thinking”, which now represents very dim views of the poor dependent on benefits.

        Perhaps you go and talk to AAAP members and express your views in person, and get answers from them directly. You may perhaps have a different view after doing that.

      • The public are now aware that some people are appalled and angry. Without the demo there was nothing more than an apathetic response from the opposition and some carefully worded responses from NGOs that are probably as angry as AAAP but restricted by funding contstraints.

        For someone who claims to work in this sector you seem remarkably uninformed.

  17. When I think about it, I view discussing something on a group FB page as less public than writing/publishing an article for a newsfeed; something which will be distributed around masses of individuals and their friends. I think it is easier to talk about things via FB chat etc. Anyway, the main point I wanted to raise is that naming detractors and then publishing their names in this forum – harsh!
    Your piece, the assumption that being angry, which I’ve read translated into bullying and intimidating behaviour, is the effective form or tactic of street/march/hikoi -protesting. Indeed some of the comments I have read identify a linkage between violence and success.
    One particular respondent said:
    “… its in keeping with past generations before who were not so gutless, squeamish and politically correct to worry about stepping on peoples toes who are acting like arseholes.
    …How about Kate Sheppard? …how many well off middle class women are the recipient of THAT generations activism?”
    Kate Sheppard was a Suffragist, she used non-violent techniques. Emilie Pankhurst and many of the Suffragette movements used violence to further their cause. They attained the right to vote many years after the Suffragists.
    My recollection of that slice of history is Kate Sheppard was a middleclass, white Chick. Also she espoused liberal feminist ideals and this translated into using the following mechanisms for creating the desired societal change; lobbying, petitioning, educating and who is to say that sex wasn’t brought into it. It was my Grandmother who told me this; she was born in the first decade or so of the 20th Century and was educated at Southland Girls’ High school (as was I – SGHS).
    Kate Sheppard also used networking – big time.
    If you think about it, as a human-being with our various emotional responses to situations, if you were to come up to me and “shove” me “and yell” at me, I suspect my fight or flight responses would kick in. If I took flight, and I think this would be no different were I an ‘influencer’ like Paul Henry, I wouldn’t be hearing your message. Running for the hills because my wellbeing is threatened tends to switch my ears off.
    Alternatively, I might opt to fight. It would be safe to assume that all of the messages you relayed to me during our verbal, I would take home, re-spin, and malign by breakfast. Thank goodness eh, that I don’t host a breakfast show.
    I would have thought that your target market for this protest was “middle NZers”, yet you opted to snub your nose at the very methods for reaching them. You also opted to reinforce their image of us, the stereotype.
    An event which underscores this position and really gave rise to the anti-protest sentiment was the March against Marches. I would contend that the success of this anti-campaign in part at least, was its non-violence. This was one of the emphasised messages. It became a clear-cut point of difference, between the protest marches at that time and what the general populace understood and agreed with. I suppose in some respects, it gave people the choice. An aggressive approach can leave people thinking that they don’t have a choice and they respond with, you are trying to ‘shove this down my throat’. The natural response to the latter is to chuck it back up again.
    I also think the physicality of aggressive behaviour can leave us feeling like we have done something. The combination of the body movements, the building-up and then outpouring of emotion create very satisfying feelings.
    Protesting “pretty” when poverty isn’t pretty; your piece is beautifully written and the play on words is catchy. Speaking of messaging, an alternative interpretation is arguably this piece is about your right to protest the way you want based on the feminist perspective of poverty. A correct perspective, when applied to the power-holders, not so much when applied to the people standing beside you. People living in poverty, is the key issue. The drivers of poverty are extensive, thus a far broader fight requiring lifetimes to eradicate can be anticipated.
    I don’t agree with some of your opinion, and in particular, you thinking that because the Government is bullying and abusive, we should respond in a similar manner. I believe the support of middle NZers is far more important.
    I think the publishing of names of others supporting people living in poverty was simply unkind.

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