Friday, March 4, 2022
Mike Butler: Sit-in ended but mandate anger seethesLabels: Illegal Mandates, Jacinda Ardern's failing government, Mandate Protest, Mike Butler
March 2 was the day that hundreds of helmeted police with shields pushed, bashed, pepper sprayed, hosed, fired sponge bullets, and marched over, a thousand or so citizens camped in front of New Zealand’s Parliament building. That was on the 23rd day of a protest against forced vaccinations.
Police kicked off the carnage on Monday night by removing (and smashing) a new shower block on a trailer. Police went on to seize cars and destroy tents, leaving a swathe of rubbish in front of Parliament. Protesters did not trash their possessions.
A riot is a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd. There was no violent disturbance by the crowd of protesters before the police descended in riot gear. The Police brought the riot. I’ve seen footage of protesters with their backs to police as they were being pushed out of the area. It was only later, after hours of harassment, that a bonfire was lit and pavers were thrown.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern insisted that the day of shame would not define her Government. Subsequent media reports carry reshaped messages from the Government but it is difficult to see how Ardern can spin her way out of this. Words cannot erase the actions that took place in Wellington on Wednesday.
And, irony of ironies, most (55 percent) of the protesters camped at Parliament were women, 45 percent had voted for a Labour-Green Government in the 2020 election, and 27 percent were Maori. Many had been forced out of work and had lost their homes because they refused to submit to forced vaccination. Ardern hurt her supporters then shunned them.
How bad was violence by police?
New Zealand governments have had police bash protesters on a number of occasions. Understandably, the police were doing their duty as sworn officers. Some would have felt a conflict between their professional duty and their identity as New Zealanders inflicting violence on peaceful fellow citizens.
How does this protest compare with others?
A hundred were arrested at Parliament on Wednesday and Thursday. A total of 222 were arrested at Bastion Point in 1978, and a whopping 1500 were arrested during the 1981 protests against the Springbok tour. The violence at the March 2 protest was up there with the other protests, greater than that at Bastion Point, but less than the pitched anti-tour battles in 1981.
Who will take responsibility for the crackdown?
Police Minister Poto Williams blames social media. Not the sharpest tool in the kit! Three weeks of smear stories in our mainstream media have been used to blame protesters. Compromised by the Public Interest Journalism Fund that encourages reporters to advocate for causes sanctioned by the Government, many now filter news as part of a ubiquitous wall of propaganda only avoided by turning off devices.
Under the current Government, there is always someone else to blame. This was shown in action the day before the crackdown in an apology over Covid-19 test delays.
Both Ardern and Associate Health Minister Aysha Verrall, who is also an infectious diseases doctor, had given assurances that New Zealand was well-prepared for Covid-19 testing. But lengthy delays in results showed that the health system was far from prepared.
Eventually, someone had to take responsibility and the task was left to the Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, when he took the blame without a single politician in sight. Neither Ardern nor Verrall were there. Bloomfield was thrown to the wolves.
"The Buck Stops Here" said the sign on United States President Harry S Truman’s desk on the early 1950s. The buck does not stop at the top in New Zealand right now. The top person goes missing whenever a buck needs to stop somewhere. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster should be getting ready to face the blowtorch, alone.
Were the demands of the protesters reasonable?
Protesters wanted Ardern to meet them, they wanted the no-jab-no-job vaccine coercion to end on Tuesday of this week, and called for the repeal of the series of rushed Covid-19 laws, many of which overrode established law.
Protesters demanded the end of autocratic rule by Ardern! That includes the right to be free to refuse medical treatment as recognised by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
The High Court specifically upheld that right for Police and Defence staff on February 25, just days before the Government attack on protesters. The vaccine mandate was ruled illegal for 164 police staff and 115 from the New Zealand Defence Force who faced losing their jobs on March 1
A push to widen this ruling to everyone is under way. Their lawyer Matthew Hague has written to the Prime Minister giving her a deadline that passed on Friday, March 4, to end mandates and remove vaccine certificates for everyone, or face further court action.
Protesters’ demands were reasonable, specific, doable, and backed by the High Court. The demands are on-going.
Is the no-jab-no-job mandate having any effect on countering the spread of Omicron?
Apparently not! The spread of Omicron has increased rapidly despite having 90 percent of the adult population of New Zealand jabbed and holding vaccine passes. More than 20,000 new Covid-19 cases were being reported each day at the time of the Parliament crackdown
The Pfizer vaccine that has been imposed on New Zealanders appears to have little or no effect on Omicron. The first Omicron case that arrived in Auckland from Germany via Dubai on December 10 and flew to an MIQ hotel in Christchurch was fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The outbreaks that triggered the current red light setting, the Motueka and the Soundsplash concert outbreak in Hamilton, infection in late January, were among people fully vaccinated.
What effect will March 2 crackdown have?
The protest embarrassed the Government so recriminations are coming. The Government was ridiculed. An opinion piece titled “Can a government die of laughter?” catalogued a series of embarrassing (for the government) blunders one of which left a reporter having difficulty suppressing laughter while delivering her report.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Parliament may be fenced off from the public. The Left-wing brown supremacists in government have smeared protesters as witless tools of Right-wing white supremacists. Ardern has already said police will hunt out ringleaders, sift through social media for damning comments, and destroy disinformation.
That’s rich. The Ardern government does disinformation on an industrial scale through its wall of Covid-19 propaganda. They claim to have higher standards and nobler beliefs than anything their political enemies could fathom. But when it came to an embarrassing protest at their front door in came the Police to do their dirty work. They wanted the Army in there too.
What do the people think?
A Horizon Research poll in mid-February showed that 30 percent support the anti-mandate protest. Resistance to Government Covid-19 measures can only grow as the result of incoherent and irritating requirements regarding masks, testing, contract tracing and isolation, as well as the hefty fines for non-compliance. The strategy that Ardern so frequently boasted was world-leading now looks like an expensive waste of time and money. We are sick and tired of the propaganda, the never-ending failures, and the stupidity.
Does any political Party uphold Clause 11 of the Bill of Rights Act?
No! Not a single leader of any of the political parties backed the protesters. Ardern, Christopher Luxon (National), David Seymour (ACT), Marama Davidson (Green) and Rawiri Waititi (Maori Party) supported vaccine mandates. The Government breached the NZBORA, protesters demanded the breach be fixed, then all parties supported the breach. With people like that in power, New Zealand is in trouble.
Veteran commentator and businessman Sir Bob Jones’ predicted, in his farewell column this week, that there will be a landslide vote against Ardern next year. If only that could happen now!
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