Don’t mention the NZ election to me. Unless you want swears and tears.
I’m so mad. The main losers of this right wing party settling in for their third term, with a MAJORITY (62 seats!!!) are New Zealand’s poor people… And women … And children… And our conservation areas… Also, equality took a big hit… And climate change.
This government is especially terrible at acting like climate change is happening. For a country known for being “clean and green” it does a suspiciously large amount of fossil fuel pushing. And for a country whose very close Pacific neighbours are among the first experiencing the devastating consequences of rising sea levels RIGHT NOW, it buries it’s head in the sand far too much.
You would never know, from NZ’s media, that people here care about the climate. On Sunday, alongside millions of people all over the world, Kiwis rallied for a People’s Climate March. Stuff.co.nz covered the march in Brazil, the UK and Australia but failed to mention the gatherings in NZ. (Just like pretty much every NZ media outlet failed to let people know the extent of National’s deceit and corruption. Please, please, please read Hager’s Dirty Politics if you still feel an element of trust in this government. It leaves no room for doubt. National’s political gaming and duping of voters belongs in some Elizabethan backwater not this thriving, creative and intelligent society.)
I am going to be a pain in the lazy arse of NZ’s journos this year. If you are an NZer, could you do this too? A bit of civillian action to hold NZ media to account? Phone them up/ send an email/ write a comment. (I’ve done all three this week.) Let’s become a dog with a bone on this because if we can transform the bias media here we can transform the political landscape, I’m convinced.
Anyway, YAY, climate change rallies around the world! Just when you think no one cares about whole Islands getting washed over hundreds and thousands of people turn up in every major city across the world to show they really bloody do!
We had a gathering of 200 (not to be sniffed at for a small town!) with beautiful protest artwork, awesome music and inspiring speakers.
(Not counting our National MP Scott Simpson who turned up for the photo opportunity -he won’t meet with constituents but wherever there is a camera, he will be found. He literally just used his few words to GLOAT about his party’s win – oh, and he managed to name “protest” as one of the negative forces of society. I also overheard a small kid ask him, quite innocently, if he “Kills trees” – his response was an immensely snide, juvenile and irresponsible “No, SHE does” – and he pointed at the Green Party politician, Catherine Delahunty. Who used her speech to big up the grassroots and to call for immediate action on climate change. Sort of how you’d want a speech at a climate change rally to go, y’know?)
Climate change is undoubtedly the biggest threat facing us at the moment. It should be the first priority of every government. And should govern the actions of every individual.
There were farmers and anarchists and children and Grandparents rallying in Thames on Sunday. Power to the people indeed. It is really these people, the people who will hold our leaders to account through protest, that give me hope.
What Scott Simpson failed to remember when he called out protest as a negative thing was New Zealand’s astonishingly rich history of it. It was New Zealand who first gave women the vote as a result of their excellent mobilisation, it was New Zealand who played a part in taking the anti-apartheid movement to the next level when nuns and fans and salt-of-the-earth Kiwis disrupted rugby games by piling on the pitch and barricading gates when the South African team toured here in 1981 and Kiwi’s have courageously been taking to the seas for decades to protest climate-destroying nuclear and deep sea drilling. (Read the tragic story of the 1985 Rainbow Warrior and more recent expedition including 2013 former leader of the Greens Jeanette Fitzsimons.)
There is one good thing about having a corrupt, unjust and environment-hating government in power. Sometimes, under more progressive governments, the grassroots can get complacent. We saw a bit of this under Labour in the UK. But when the government persistently show contempt for its people we get mad and we mobilise. This election result has upset a lot of people, but let’s harness that emotion. Let’s protest like its the Eighties. Let’s gather, and plan, and march, and strategise. And there let hope be born.
Are you cross enough to mobilise? Tell me what you are thinking…
And did you attend a People’s Climate March? I’d love to hear about it..
PS, Er, yes, sorry. I realise I did go and “mention the election.” This post was intended to be quite a positive one. WHOOPS!!!
PPS Pictures by Bella Pacific Media