Sense from Fisher:

David Fisher writes:

Dismissive arrogance towards the protesters at Parliament is making the situation worse.

That’s not just Parliament’s high-handed approach. Opinion pieces and public sentiment that mock and sneer at people’s sincerely held beliefs serves to isolate those in our community who reckon the Government has got it wrong.

Those who do believe this are greater in number than vaccination figures would suggest.

Many suggest the protesters are a tiny minority because only 6% of adults are unvaccinated. But they don’t realise some of those 94% who got vaccinated didn’t want to do so, and felt coerced into it.

And there are others who were enthusiastic to personally get vaxed, but think the mandates are wrong.

To dismiss those people – as the Prime Minister does by citing our 95 per cent vaccination rate – is wrong. To mock those people, as some in Parliament have done, is worse. Isolation is a classic part of the radicalisation process. The further and harder you push people away, the more fixed they become.

Spot on.

For every person that did make the journey, there are many others who wished they were there. They are people who stayed home and expected when they came out it would be over, who got their jabs and then thought that would be it, who had children stuck overseas, who knew someone who couldn’t go to their mother’s funeral, who lost their house when they lost their job.

Across our country, there are decent, well-intentioned Kiwis who have packed the car, readied the campervan, bought plane tickets and travelled to Wellington.

They arrived as a formless mass, unclear as to what they wanted other than a general rallying cry to “end the mandates”, a move that will come but most definitely will not under threat of protest and Omicron.

The problem is the Government won’t give any idea of when the mandates will end. If they said something like “They’ll end once we have 90% of people boosted” or “They’ll end when Covid cases are less than 100 a day” then those against the mandates might accept that. But refusing to give any idea of when re might return to a non coercive state, means those feeling oppressed have no reason to go home.

The way out of the protest is not through the protest but with the protest. Rather than dismiss the protesters, recognise that the views they hold are genuine and hard-earned. Recognise they dedicated considerable thought to their views and adopted a stance that is honest and principled.

Having done so, recognise too that it is the one thing on which we disagree that is making it difficult to see what we like about each other. Finding a circuit-breaker to do that is hard but necessary.

Ultimately, most of those on Parliament’s forecourt want the same thing as those inside Parliament’s walls – for New Zealand to be a free and open democracy in which we are able to live our lives in the best way possible, subject to the freedoms enjoyed by each other.

What David Fisher says makes more sense than those who advocate the Police should go in and try to arrest over 1,000 people.

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