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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Wellington protest weathers the storm, offer to open negotiations with the government

The Wellington protest outside parliament continues today in good spirits despite a weekend of terrible weather conditions.

The good news for the protesters is that the sun is out today, and little or no rain is forecast for the rest of the week. Farmers have donated a truckload of hay to cover the muddied grounds.

This follows a viral post on Facebook by Groundswell NZ co-founder Bryce MacKenzie, in which he criticised the government’s handling of the parliament protest and supported its right to be heard.

Sunday recap from our our contact on the ground:

Just AMAZING to see the cheerful, positive state of the rally this afternoon [Sunday 13 February] when I finally managed to get there about 3.30pm. Was expecting a muddy, dishevelled mob, and what did I see!?…

A neat, thick layer of straw was all over every inch of the grassed area in front of parliament where the tents are pitched, so there was very little mud in sight – farmers had arrived as the storm became more ferocious over the weekend and expertly covered what had become a quagmire, left everyone some spare bales, then disappeared back to the farm. Most of the small tents also now have a second protective covering of some kind.

The people were looking clean, warmly dressed, and many had brand new gumboots on! They were not beleaguered and stressed as I had expected. One of the women told me her friend had deposited $1000 in her bank account to help with “whatever people needed during the storm”, so they had shopped at The Warehouse for warm gear and gumboots for the adults in need, and lots of clean clothing for the kids, along with other necessities.

Gary Moller had put out a request on his blog for help to wash and dry people’s clothes and offer warm showers. A few women had already organised and collected with a little trolley most of the clothing that needed washing by the time I got there, and it seemed the urgent showers were all sorted, too. Wow, I couldn’t believe it!

The response from the greater Wellington community and rally friends and family up and down the country is supporting all these people to smoothly weather both the natural and unnatural storms by hardly missing a beat – go Kiwis!

The most challenging unnatural storm last night and today was the loud, grating noise blasting out of parliament buildings – a cacophony of discordant flute sounds, obviously designed to drive a person nuts, interspersed with superfluous advertisements about wearing a mask and having the third you-know-what. The adults seemed to have tuned it out by the afternoon, as they continued on with their organising and discussions unperturbed, but I could see by the expression on their faces that some of the children were not impressed with the horrible noise.

As many people began to line up for their hot food at the end of the day, looking snug in their winter gear, I couldn’t help thinking as I surveyed the scene that nothing basically had changed. The mood was still one of close camaraderie, small groups busily organising this and that, others relaxing and looking out on the scene with a quiet smile, some in deep discussion, kids playing, friends new and old having a good old laugh about something, and all of them absolutely determined to stay put until they get their answer, no matter what.

It really is a privilege spending time in this special community.

 

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. A very humbling experience watching the people uniting peacefully. Heart felt gratitude goes out to them all for there tenacious dedication, thank you for all the goodness everyone is bringing to this peaceful protest. I pray our prayers will not go unheard that kindness and good ness will eventually prevail.

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