Monday, May 25, 2009

Key says "fuck the people"

As I blog, an estimated ten thousand people are making their way up Queen Street in the rain as part of IHI Aotearoa's hikoi to demand proper Maori representation in the Auckland SuperCity. It's the largest protest in New Zealand in years, despite the bad weather. And Prime Minister John Key's response? A pre-emptive "fuck you":

Mr Key was asked on TV One's Breakfast show what he thought about the protest and the disruption it would cause.

"Obviously people have a right to protest and we respect that," he said.

"(But) I can't help but wonder if they are a little bit ahead of themselves."


"I don't think the hikoi of itself will make any difference really...we are going to go through the select committee process, that's not a white wash we are actually going to listen to what happens there. We are trying to work on getting an outcome that works for everyone."

So, people should sit back, shut up, and wait to see if National's special stacked select committee - which contrary to Key's view, is a whitewash (National doesn't need to listen because it has a majority) - produces a good outcome. And if it doesn't, then they should sit back and shut up because Parliament has spoken (and besides, it'll be too late by then anyway). It's hard to escape the conclusion that he thinks that ordinary people's input into the political system should be once every three years at the ballot box, and beyond that, they should shut up and do what they're told.

As for whether it will make a difference, Key can swear black and blue that he will not listen and that protest is a waste of time, but those people on the street today can vote. And with such a high turnout, National's Auckland MPs - particularly those in marginal electorates - should be running scared. By speaking up now, the hikoi has made it clear that an Auckland which excludes Maori will have electoral consequences. A sensible government would take heed.