The biggest problem with the Government’s response to the protest on Parliament’s lawns is Jacinda’s point-blank refusal to acknowledge the protest.
That is understandable.
Many in the protest have gone beyond political theatre to outright abuse and threats of violence.
No Government can be bullied or threatened into a meeting, it sets a terrible precedent.
But while there can be and should be no negotiating with protestors who threaten violence, it is proper and righteous that a Government representative does meet with the Protest and takes their concerns to the top table. These are citizens, while their pain may have been manipulated by the far right, it is a Government’s obligation in a liberal progressive democracy to hear their concerns.
In listening and taking those concerns back, the Government sends a clear message that citizens have been heard, that those concerns will be responded to AND that they now must move this to a legal protest by moving their vehicles or having them towed.
The only ones with the mana to do this are the Māori Caucus.
When Ihumatao threatened to explode, the Māori Caucus went in to find a solution and they did.
When gangs were refusing to get vaccinations, the Māori Caucus went in and managed to get them to vaccinate!
The Māori Caucus have the mana to speak to the protestors and to manage the de-escalation of this protest.
It’s time to send them in now.
We can’t allow this protest to become the ugly stain of political violence, and the Māori Caucus represents the best chance of preventing that.