I went to this because anyone who knows me knows I think left-wing socialism is on the side of the angels; and it pisses off a government that I do not like.  The government says that the election gave them a mandate to privatise the state-owned power companies in New Zealand.  Well, I’m sorry.  The government was not returned to power by an over-whelming majority; and while the electorate returned a popular government, there is anecdotal evidence that many voting for the John Key party did not endorse asset sales.  As a tax-payer and New Zealand citizen I already own the  state-owned power companies.  I do not need to buy them back  through shares that will not guarantee me any security for my retirement.  Thank you very much.  It’s a bad return.

By the time I reached the starting post about ten to eleven the cul-de-sac outside the dental school was already full of people.  For once the heavens proved to be on our side and provided us with a frosty clear blue sky after several days of rain.  The numbers were less than were on hand for the Save Neurosurgery in Dunedin March, in which just about everyone who was still middle-class in Dunedin, and points further south, turned out to defend Dunedin Hospitals services.

There were plenty of banners on hand, representing political parties and trade unions who were supporting the protest organised by Grey Power Otago.  To their shame rumour has it that the Otago University Students Association want to buy shares in the privatisation sales and did not attend as a body.  The next time I do one of these things I should get a stick of dowling to bear my Southland Spirit of a Nation flag.  Its blue-green-blue tricoleur will add a big more colour.

The archivist spotted me straight away and we joined forces.  The pipers and one of the protestors were keen to get us moving at eleven o’clock.  Grey Power took the lead and we all fell in.  We marched up George Street listening to the socialist liturgy around us.  I find that protest marches are a bit like being in some one else’s church, you never quite know what’s going to happen next.

We got to the Octagon in ten minutes for the speeches.  I looked back as the march came up the rise into the Octagon.  The procession did not go back to Frederick Street as it did in the Neurosurgery march, it was still several blocks long, which represents the strength of opinion.   Addresses were given from the unions and David Parker from the Labour Party gave us a good rark-up.  We were joined in the Octagon by another member of staff from the Archives.  After the protest was dismissed and everyone scattered a cameraman from TV3 collared us as protestors who were not members of the unions and the political parties.  My friend did a soundbite that made it onto their 6pm news bulletin.  I was quite chuffed to see it.

How long before this government listens to the public if it wants to retain its weakening grasp on power?

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