Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Rodney Hide: The protestors have won

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told protesters at Parliament that they’ve “made their point”, and it’s now “time to go home”.

The Prime Minister is clearly rattled. She doesn’t understand that it is not for her to decide when the protesters go home (other than by her repealing the mandate orders).

She also fails to appreciate that the protesters aren’t outside her window to make a point: they are there to end the mandates.

In that one distinction we see the difference between the protesters and the Prime Minister. Everything the Prime Minister does is to make a point -- and only to make a point. She promises to build 100,000 houses or to plant a billion trees or to end child poverty. The promise serves only to make a point: that she cares. That’s it. It is never her intention actually to build the houses or to plant the trees or to feed the kids.

She clearly doesn’t know how to. She doesn’t know how to swing a hammer or to wield the massive machinery of government to make houses. If she did know, she would have done so.

But for her it doesn’t matter. She shows she cares by making her promise. She makes her point. And that for her is enough.

It’s the same with modern day protests. They make their point. And then go home.

The protesters that I know outside Parliament aren’t like that. They have gone to Wellington to end the mandates. They have a purpose. They have a job to do. And they will stay until it’s done.

That’s how they live. That’s how they work. They live with purpose. And they do things. They build houses, plant trees, and feed people. They are very good at what they do. They have to be. They get paid for what they do, not for making a point. They don’t survive with the hot air and endless meetings.

Their world and the Prime Minister’s world normally don’t collide. But the Prime Minister has used her world to turn their world upside down, and inside out, by a bewildering and constantly changing array of covid rules which don’t make sense and which serve no purpose. The protesters I know have had enough. They are fed up. And so they have gone to Wellington to end the mandates.

They haven’t sat at home to organise an online petition or write a Facebook post: they have gone to Parliament’s front lawn, pitched tents and built a town. They are capable. They are committed. The Speaker turns the sprinklers on, they dig drainage trenches and spread straw. The next day more volunteers arrive with generators and dryers to dry their clothes.

They are practical people. They can feed and house an army in a hostile environment.

That’s what’s rattled the Prime Minister. These people are capable. They are capable in a way that she cannot imagine. Speaker Mallard thought it a great joke turning on the sprinklers. That would send them home. Nope. They can handle that. That’s nothing.

They have proved themselves more determined, more capable and more organised than our Parliament and our Government.

The protesters have been brilliantly strategic. They have clearly followed Napoleon's dictum of never interrupting your enemy when he is making a mistake. The protesters have not interrupted the Prime Minister, the Speaker, Parliament, the Police and the Media as they have piled blunder upon blunder.

The battle has also spectacularly proved non-partisan: all political parties have sadly sided with the government making worthy statements and signing meaningless agreements. The best was the attempt to set conditions for negotiation: that totally misapprehended where the power lay. True to form, the media reported from the bunker believing something momentous had been decided. Oh and ODESC had a meeting.

That doesn’t matter to the people I know camped on the lawn.

That’s normal politics where the vast majority of citizens jog along not that happy with the government but not that unhappy that they would gather up a great swathe of New Zealand and camp indefinitely on the lawn of Parliament. That’s a considerable disgruntlement. And when that happens, the government, and in this instance, Parliament loses.

The people win. Always.

They win because in a democracy the power lies with the people. Once a significant chunk defy the government, that’s it. It doesn’t take a majority, just a good chunk. And the mandates have mobilised a good chunk and then some.

The politicians can rant and rage and hold meetings. But that’s all they can do.

Our police and army are quite correctly reluctant to do a Tiananmen Square. And so the protesters will win. They are not moving. They are not giving up. And there are plenty of them.

Get rid of a thousand, and there will be another thousand and more likely two thousand. There is a groundswell and they have coalesced around Camp Freedom and the call to dump the mandates.

I have little sympathy for the whinings of Wellingtonians dutifully reported in the media. Their complaints show them to be precious and out-of-touch. Their complaints pale beside the suffering the entire country has endured these past two years. And the disruption is not that much: it’s just a little corner of the city. Plus the protest is right where it should be: outside the seat of power.

Besides, driving the protesters away with force would not make the problem go away. The people I know won’t be cowered. They will set up elsewhere. The mandates just need to be dropped. Easy.

It’s clear the Prime Minister is rattled. She accuses the protesters of bullying. That’s rich from the Prime Minister who declares get vaxxed or lose your job. And become second class. We all enjoyed that irony and out-of-touchness.

And her telling us to go home? To our homes and to our businesses that have been shredded? Nope. It’s more fun being amongst new and deep friends, being free and listening to the music, while all the while getting right up the noses of the dirty sods that have inflicted such pain and suffering on us, our families, our friends and our communities.

The protesters demand is simple and reasonable: dump the mandate. Greens and ACT supporters, Maori and Pakeha, have united in the simple request for one standard of citizenship. It has thrilled my heart to see kiwis side by side and united. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has united people -- but to her consternation they have united against her.

The mandates serve no epidemiological purpose. The Prime Minister need simply declare that in hindsight, and out of an abundance of caution, she went too far and that the mandates will end 11:59pm tonight.

The support for mandates would evaporate with her statement. Everyone would be happy. Oh there would be those rightly sheepish for their florid rhetoric against their fellow citizens but all would be forgiven. We would all move on a little freer, our politicians a little more circumspect, and our high and mighty slightly humbled.

We would all have learned that you can only push people so far. We will comply but only so far. There is a breaking point. And we are past that.

The Battle for Molesworth Street has been fought and won. We just have to wait for the Prime Minister to realise it.

It will happen. The only issue is whether it will be days or months. And whether it registers as a blip on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership or its total destruction.

Rodney Hide is former ACT Party leader, and Minister in the National-ACT Government from 2008 to 2011. This article was first published HERE


Janine said...

The two anti-social incidents highlighted by the MSM have been shown to be a nothing burger. In fact it appears the bottle throwing incident was actually the police using pepper spray! I watched the " car driving into police incident". There again, at no stage did the driver look like he was intending to hit anybody. The MSM were up at 4am to record all this....very strange.... as they are usually nowhere to be seen.

The protesters have had an experienced mediator ready for five days but the government refuses to negotiate.

The problem I see is that it is now the government and the media versus the people. There are still many people glued to the MSM. We must encourage those people to seek truthful coverage of the protest. Once they see the discrepancies between MSM and independent reporting they will realise that other things they are being told are also not true.

Gordon said...

Well said, Rodney.

So disappointing that our country, NEW ZEALAND, does not have an "opposition" (in parliament) - there is an opposition - and those are the good people in the grounds of parliament, standing up for their rights and the abolishment of mandates. Luxon, Seymour, and the rest ............ get the hint ??

Hopefully, with time, after all this has blown over (that is the stand-off between the good people 'living" in their home in the grounds of parliament', and the so-called government), we can all return to normal life as New Zealanders; the way it was before this charade of a virus was announced (and that was worldwide, almost like clockwork), and the "draconian measures" imposed on the people of NZ, by auntie jabcinda.

There is hope ............. as the lyrics of the song "HOPE NEW ZEALAND" suggests : "a new apartheid, and not the country it used to be". Lets hope that such "an apartheid" is just a bad dream.

Terry Morrissey said...

If the protesters at parliament had made their point and she realised what it was she would have resigned by now. It is not only the mandates it is what brought them into force. A completely incompetent PM and government that is taking away our freedom and democracy.

Anonymous said...

The left has a long history of organizing protests, often violent ones, but now they're in power they're shocked and stunned to find their own government facing mass protest.
They were narcistic enough to think that only *they* were allowed to organize protests. They're clearly rattled.

Unknown said...

Brilliantly put. The only thing I wish the Protestors will do is to get rid of all the other brands - maori, green, etc. One sign - end mandates.

I am not into all the other conspiracy stuff. i am not religious, racial, or any other supporter. I am a wealthy white male based in Parnell. I just will not take that vaccination.

I just drove the length of this nation to drop a kid at university and was treated like a leper anytime i was asked for mandate. could not eat anywhere. issues with accomodation. couldnt play golf anywhere except Wairaeki [who even had unvax toilets! like the old 'coloured toilets'] and Feilding. it is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

“ It’s clear the Prime Minister is rattled. She accuses the protesters of bullying. That’s rich from the Prime Minister who declares get vaxxed or lose your job.”
Nailed it!
Thanks again Rodney

Stonecoldsurf said...

Not a truer word has been spoken on this topic.....brilliant writing Rodney hopefully some of your former colleagues listen!

Kiwialan said...

Adern and her disfunctional bunch of racist mates know that the silent majority are finally waking up from the fairy dust and bullshit spell. Kiwialan.

MC said...

Well said Rodney. Our erstwhile wee Pretender to The Throne has to go. Problem is, how much more damage can she do before she gets rolled? Fresh faced Shaw is spending-up on 'carbon credits', wants Rainbow People Ministries etc. Willy Wonker cocks and crows over blatantly racial "victories" and so on. Jesus on a bike, have we gone stark raving bonkers? Heather du Plessis-Allan's article on the Urewera debacle tells anyone with an ounce of common sense that this woke - joke BS approach is exactly that - BS. As if this wasn't enough, there's mandates. I know so many who've lost everything they've worked for. They'd gladly trade the risk of covid over their current dire straights.

Gail said...

Great piece Rodney and completely true. What I don't understand is people's willingness to be divided into an 'us' and 'them' camp. It seems you cannot have a right or an opinion about anything unless it complies. I have to admit I an surprised and proud of those New Zealanders who have physically stood up and said enough. They represent more than the few thousand there as the sentiment is echoed countrywide. This government has passed many bills without our permission or inclusion and control us like irate parents all whilst cunningly taking the rights to parent and guide our own children. Before we know it we will be needing permission to talk to our families and share our opinions. This is control and it's most obscene and it is most definitely not for the 'good' of the people. What we need now is for people to ask the questions themselves instead of happily being spoonfed the mush.

Anna Mouse said...

The control it seems is to continue.

From the Herald:

"Ardern cautioned that the traffic light system was likely to remain in place for the winter to combat not just Covid, but the return of the flu, following two winters where the flu has been kept largely at bay thanks to Covid measures."

Lets see how the public of NZ takes to the idea that a previously taken by choice flu vaccine may seemingly be now mandated for all..........because it is as bad (now it seems)as Covid?

Motorboomernz said...

Oh such an excellent article. Thanks Rodney!

Anonymous said...

The most honest thing I have read for ages. Well done, it's brilliant. Many things you said made sense to me. This government treat us all like our opinions don't seem to matter, that they think they know best. Our PM has divided this country instead of uniting us. Team of five million, no, I don't think so at al. I can see more protests on the horizon if this totally incompetent and out of her depth PM likes it or not.

Phil Davies said...

Part of Kiwi's endemic problems stem from the ( generally ) apathetic attitude that seems to be the norm . We have an overactive minority ( of radicals) that seem to be incredibly vocal and who effect change more often ( and effectively ) than the majority - this makes a mockery of our democratic society. Sadly inaction is something that Kiwi's seem to be renowned for - far be it from me wanting to see more vocal protestors lock those idiots up I say, and publicise that is what is going to happen to them - that should eventually deter protestors like that rabble that took over Parliament grounds and did so much damage . Firm , fair and effective responses will pay off , no question . Frontline staff generally are sick and tired of seeing the same old same old faces at all the protests no matter what the cause is . The most common factor I believe amongst our current crop of protestors is an attitude that is driven by anti-authority beliefs of most of the radical participants , not any genuine wish to change society for the better .