The summer of discontent

The Wellington protesters have outstayed their welcome but is the protest the start of many?

In Editor’s Note4 Minutes

THE WELLINGTON PROTESTERS have outstayed their welcome but is the protest the start of many?

The protest has been reported as being hijacked by extreme elements and we’ve been told there are some people yelling abuse, but they seem to be a small minority.

I’m triple vaccinated and don’t support the anti-mandate protest nor condone any violence or intimidation, but I do admire the courage of their convictions. There are always some extremists in a protest but the great majority of these protesters looked like a festive crowd made up of working class people, the very people Labour is meant to represent. Few looked threatening.

There has been little verification of these claims by the media who haven’t bothered to get out from behind their desks and talk to the protesters. The journalists say they feel intimidated by horrid things written in chalk and even a noose was displayed. Uncomfortable situations are part and parcel of being a journalist, harden up and stop being so woke.

There is a small group of tents growing in Dunedin’s Octagon in support of Wellington so I wandered over and took photos. I was confronted but had a polite discussion with one of the supporters who was anti-mandate.

How can the media and commentators judge the Wellington protesters without mingling and talking to them?

Commentators like Bryce Edwards, a politics lecturer at Victoria University, did and said they are working class people, predominantly brown, who have lost jobs and are fed up with the mandate. Most of us would like to know what is the Government’s exit strategy and timetable for ending the mandate. With 95% vaccination, why do we need to present a vaccine pass to buy a coffee?

The protest has been hard for Wellington businesses and residents but so have the rules on businesses around the country especially Auckland and Queenstown.

Whatever the protesters’ reasons for being at Parliament they seem to have one thing in common – they are anti the Government.

Has the media lost the public’s trust?

Most of the mainstream media have done a poor job of holding the Government to account. It has been accused of being biased towards the Government, especially the Prime Minister. The $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund is seen as a bribe. With the outlook for the economy looking bleak, inflation driving up food prices and other costs, will the public demand better scrutiny of the Government’s economic and environmental policies?

People across the country are fed-up with the Government’s impractical and unworkable rules. Rules made up by bureaucrats and academics whose salaries are paid by taxpayers. There will be sympathy towards the protesters tired of government rules controlling their lives. Yes some controls were needed to slow Covid but were they the best options?

Is there now an opportunity for farming? Given the pressure the Government has placed on farming families with a deluge of rules in recent years, is it time to apply the heat by taking to the streets again to protest?

Terry Brosnahan