The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

Okay just got back from the march.  Didn’t quite go as I envisioned.  You see while I have promoted the march here, I’m not one of the organisers and my involvement was purely to stroll along at the back, and see how it goes.

Sadly these plans went awry. The cessna flipping at Wellington Airport took out two of the three speakers and an extended Select Committee hearing took out the third.

So around 5 minutes before the march started I was told I am now the main speaker.  Yay – and I have so much time to prepare. It is hard to describe the clenching feeling you get in your stomach when you suddenly realise you have to do something with no preparation, and in front of every media outlet in NZ. Reminds me of bungy jumping.

Then as the march started I got told this also entails having to march in front of the main banner.  Great – I’m leading a protest march.  The last time I did this was in 1989 against Phil Goff in Dunedin as a student activist.  And I wasn’t even a speaker, just one of those who got to chant into a megaphone “Eff off Goff” several hundred times.

As expected Young Labour did a spirited counter protest complete with masks and megaphones.  They didn’t appreciate the irony that what they were doing would itself be illegal next year. They will make the news I am sure which is what they wanted.

Not a large turnout (but around what I expected for a weekday in Wellington) and got to Parliament fairly quickly.  I spoke a couple of times, we gave counter protesters a couple of minutes also.  Then Stephen Franks spoke.  Jeanette Fitzsimons asked to speak.  I knew the organisers hadn’t wanted any MP speaking as it was meant to be a message to them, but seeing Young Labour (to be fair the guy who spoke said he was not a Labour member, but almost all his colleagues were) got to speak we let Jeanette speak.  Then Nick Smith and Gordon Copeland also spoke to be balanced and that was it.

Afterwards was in a taxi when the 2 pm news came on.  Heard my voice blaring as the first item, and the taxi driver turns to me and say “You know that guy sounds a lot like you”.  Hilarious.

Very sad that John Boscawen couldn’t make it.  Not just because it would have got me off the hook, but that he has put so much time and energy (and his own money) into this cause he is passionate about.  I’ll blog a copy fo the speech he would have given once I have an electronic copy. But I think he has more marches planned for Christchurch and Hamilton anyway.

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