Martin Kay at Stuff reports:
As far as numbers go, the hikoi that arrived at Parliament in the icy wind and rain to protest against the Marine and Coastal Area Bill was a faint shadow of the huge outpouring of emotion against the law it will replace.
In 2004, more than 20,000 people marched to oppose the Foreshore and Seabed Act amid angry scenes that culminated with activist Tame Iti spitting at the feet of deputy prime minister at the time Michael Cullen. By the time the crowd reached Parliament, the momentum had fuelled an unstoppable grassroots movement that gave birth to the Maori Party and, a year later, its dominance of four of the seven Maori seats.
Yesterday’s protest, by comparison, was a sedate affair, with a little over 300 people marching in silence before staging a mock tangi on Parliament’s lawn.
The hikoi was around 1.5% the size of the original hikoi.
But regardless of size, those marching have every right to protest that this law doesn’t give them what they want. They think Iwi and Hapu should have customary title to the entire foreshore and seabed, rather than only the areas where there has been exclusive and unbroken use since 1840.
Must have been nice for a hokoi to turn up to Parliament and not be called haters and wreckers and have the PM declare she’d rather meet with a sheep.
The worst “abuse” they got was Chris Finlayson who was asked what he got out fo the hikoi, and he answered “I got wet” 🙂