Friday, March 4, 2022

Mike Butler: Sit-in ended but mandate anger seethes

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!


Janine said...

The protesters had every right to be there. The mandates have been deemed illegal by the courts for police and military therefore a normal response from a normal leader would be to end the mandates by setting a date.

Not Ardern though... Oh no. She proceeds to hog the camera as per usual spouting all sorts of false narrative. Ably supported by 120 cowardly MPs.

How can any body with 1/2 a brain now vote for these candidates? They are anti- democracy.
I think all the small parties should get together as there are some extremely good candidates across the board. We need to rally behind them.

Now is not the time to procrastinate. I don't expect a new party to receive the majority votes but they could weild a big influence.

DeeM said...

Let's see what the next opinion polls show, taken after the anti-mandate protest ended. The thing is, I wouldn't be surprised if a Labour-Greens government is still a possibility...even after the shocking events at parliament.
That's because we appear to have a majority who will either vote Labour-Greens even if they initiated WW3 or are so shit-scared of Covid they think Ardern is their saviour and don't care what her track record is on anything else, including their own human rights.

Bottom line - until we see it in the opinion polls it ain't going to happen. Unless the opinion polls, like the MSM, are so biased as to make them untrustworthy.

Ian P said...

See what the next Roy Morgan poll shows. They've traditionally been the most accurate. Lots of cages will be rattled. Ardern's only remaining support is the 50+ age group (mainly female) who still believe that she 'has saved them'. Time will tell. I certainly wouldn't buy a second hand car from her, let alone trust my life with her.

= age

Terry Morrissey said...

“Understandably, the police were doing their duty as sworn officers.” “Officers nearing graduation from police college have been deployed at the front line.”
A real great introduction to policing. So these new graduates will now assume that it is correct to start riots with peaceful protesters, cover up ID numbers to escape consequences for unlawful acts and generally beat up civilians who piss them off.

“Police Minister Poto Williams blames social media. Not the sharpest tool in the kit!”
The biggest problem was the corrupt bought MSM that were spewing forth lies and government propaganda.

“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.”
Does this mean that Ardern is an infectious disease doctor, or only think she has the qualifications? Whatever,both lied.

“The Left-wing brown supremacists in government have smeared protesters as witless tools of Right-wing white supremacists.”
The Left wing brown supremacists are already in the PM’s witless protection system.

“ Ardern has already said police will hunt out ringleaders, sift through social media for damning comments, and destroy disinformation.”
Does this mean she will identify those who have opposing views to her and send out her police hit squad to eliminate them? I wouldn’t be surprised.This disenter shouldn't be hard to find.

“No! Not a single leader of any of the political parties backed the protesters.”
A sure sign that not one of them is worth a single vote at the next election, and not one of them can be trusted to do the job they were either elected to do or won in a raffle. Cowadly scum.

Steve B said...

Commenting from a medical background (GP - retired) and a member of the high risk group - almost 80 - I have been sceptical from the very early stages. I saw a program when UK deaths were under 400 with a genuine analysis of those who died. The suggestion was that all had less than 12 months to live because of serious comorbidities. Consider the basics. The definition of a covid death is anyone dying within 28 days of a positive covid test. Nothing else! One hopes that the medical profession is reasonably responsible in using this definition though have heard of a traffic accident death listed as a covid death likewise a typical cardiac arrest following a heart attack and a shooting death just to give a few examples. It is very difficult to find information on the net which has not been fudged by esoteric info breakdowns but Scotland gives good info. They admit that covid only has to appear on a death certificate for the death to be classed as a covid death. A death certificate lists the following headings. Immediate cause of death, underlying causes and a separate heading which lists other factors that may have exerted some influence or words to that effect. Scotland stated that covid only needed to be listed under the latter for the death to be categorised as a covid death. Why such a vague and inaccurate definition was ever used I have no idea but it is obvious that this will have led to hugely inflated covid death statistics. Consider also that the average of death from covid is higher than the average of death of the population as a whole! From that very early stage I txted to my family (all in Australia and stuck there) that I felt this was mass hysteria on a world scale and have had no reason to change my view. From there my incredulity grew at all the harm done to the vast majority of the population who had very little to fear.

Don said...

How to make a simple confrontation complicated. A line was drawn. The protesters crossed the line. They were invited to withdraw and great patience was shown by the authorities but they chose not to withdraw and continued in unlawful actions until they had to be ejected in order to maintain law and order. To negotiate with them would demonstrate that the line could be crossed if enough chaos was created to embarrass authority. Thank heavens that in our country law and order can be maintained in the face of anarchy.

Bruce s said...

John Campbell recently interviewed Grant Robertson with the now vacated protest site as the backdrop. Describing the protesters, John Campbell used the phrases "Trumptards" and "Alt Right ". With failed media leaders like him promoting such false narratives, it is no wonder that a certain level of mistrust and even hatred of NZ media has grown in recent years.
The advent of Trump as president revealed the depth and scale of incompetence and corruption in the U.S.government. The very sophisticated hate machine rallied against Trump reached hysterical levels and continues to this day. Our own NZ media joined in the frenzy, reprinting hate articles by Washington Post, Associated Press and propaganda by CNN and others. Our own Jacina Adern used NZ taxpayer dollars to fund a holiday in NZ for one Stephen Colbert, a late night TV show host whose primary material consists of Trump hate.

DeeM said...

John Campbell is possibly the most WOKE "journalist" on TV, and nauseating to listen to with his faux-concern dripping from every long-winded question. But he does have a lot of competition from...pretty much all the other "journalists" on TV.

The guy is either interviewing himself over supposed pro-Trump, white supremacists at protests he disagrees with - even though he's too scared to turn up and talk to the protesters in person.
Or he's fawning over LGBTQVWXYZ marchers, trans-gender his/her/it conferences and pro-Maori protesters camping out illegally on someone else's land demanding it be handed back to them for free.

John is the master hypocrite and probably thinks double-standards is twice as good as standards.
The only thing worse than watching him doing an interview is a close-up of his glaringly patterned socks poking out from his turned-up jeans. Wow! You're so cool, John!!