Thursday, June 25, 2015

This is what democracy looks like


[Photo stolen from @katieabradford]

The big news this morning: Greenpeace protesters have scaled Parliament to install solar panels and drop a banner highlighting the government's inaction on climate change. Its one of those moments where we're reminded of what sort of democracy we are. Had this happened at the US capitol, the entire place would be in lockdown and there would be guns everywhere. But because its New Zealand, its "yeah, nah, do you want some coffee?"

And that's as it should be. We live in a democracy. Our Parliament absolutely should be a place of protest. That's what its for.

What the Speaker should be saying is "this is no threat to the Order of the House. Protest is part of our democracy. They'll come down when they're ready". Instead, he's describing it as an "attack", and I fully expect that at 2pm when the House sits some National MP will bombasticly demand that they be dragged before Parliament's Star Chamber for a breach of privilege. Which would itself breach privilege by bringing the House into disrepute.