OPINION PIECE- Oisin O Connell, Socialist Aotearoa member
This election has been so boring. Not even the LabNats have stepped up for anything in anyway – I'm not talking about dirty tactics but excitement. I haven't seen any real energy or enthusiasm from any party.
I received an sms today calling for a demonstration against a National led government as Key was to walkabout through the CBD this afternoon. Great, I thought this would be a good opportunity to make some last minute noise before polling tomorrow. Logically I assumed it would probably be a group of Labour and Greens and well, it kinda was - but nothing happened on their part.
Dani and I arrived to meet Joe and eventually we met up with some Labour and RAM members. Where were the Greens? Still up at uni as they decided they didn't want to 'go negative' right before the election. No leadership of any kind came from the Lab camp – apparently you shouldn't do anything if you're not going to be totally successful or some such. There was about a dozen of us in the square with banners and flags. I didn't understand what was up with these wimps – I thought we were set to go, and so we should have. The National crowd around Key wasn't that big and we could have had a decent spot on the last prime time news broadcast before the election. As I have already voted, this made me feel better that none of the above got my party vote.
Eventually they all left and Joe decided something should still happen. When Key arrived Joe got right into the sea of blue placards and kept asking Key 'Who will pay for the financial crisis?' over and over. This of course was ignored by Key but not by the Nat supporters. One of them quipped that the Irish will fund the crisis – a racist jibe at Joe. This was most amusing, when it was pointed out as a racist dig an Asian Nat supporter piped up "That's not racist, I'm Chinese"
Joe kept on Key, making the point over and over. The Nat supporters kept trying to cover Joe's presence with placards so I kept the red flag flying high. Every time Joe spoke the Nat lackeys chanted over him, so in the end we something to the tune of Joe calling "Who will pay for the financial crisis?" and the reply, "National! National!" right until Key boarded the bus and left.
The TV news spot was overshadowed by something similar that got physical elsewhere, however we still made the radio news.
Joe made a good stand and the message was loud and clear. What he did in 15minutes is far more than some MPs & 'activists' have done in years. If only our comrades stepped up and put their money where their mouths are instead of the cash register at the cafe where they ended up.