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Big police presence as 2000 march through Queen Street to say “NZ is not for sale”

Scoop report by Sebastian Mackay
The “Aotearoa is not for sale’’ protest was met with a mass police presence when it marched through Auckland today.

A large number of police met the peaceful protest by around 2000 people when it left Britomart train station late this afternoon.

Led by Socialist Aotearoa, the protest began with chants such as ‘this is what democracy looks like’ then followed through with ‘John Key you will fail, Aotearoa is not for sale.’ Placards read ‘don’t sell my future’ and ‘unite.’

The protest then sat in the middle of Queen Street following ‘If you hate John Key sit down.’

One protester says ‘this is history in the making … this is beyond racism, beyond political colours .. this is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.’

There were fears amongst the protestors that if National do go through with the planned sale of state asset,s the response would be ‘like England, or there will burnings like Greece.’

The 2,000 strong protest was addressed at its destination, Aotea Square, by Labour Party leader David Shearer and Green Party leader Dr Russel Norman.

Shearer said ‘They will sell the assets to foreigners and that means the power prices will go up. This will be okay for those that can afford but others will be saddled with larger power prices.’

‘We will fight this with you on the streets and in parliament’ Shearer said, assuring the protesters of Labour’s intentions to prevent the sales.

A citizens referendum has been started with the aim of gaining 300,000 signatures, a result which could lead to Parliament needing to call public vote on the state owned asset sales.

The Hikoi aims to march down the North Island and arrive in Wellington in two weeks time.

Press release – NZ is not for Sale
On Sunday, the hikoi ‘Aotearoa is Not For Sale’ travels to protest in Hamilton. People will gather outside the BP on Victoria Street, Hamilton for a march to protest the sale of our assets and resources. Both SOE sales and plans for massive sand mining on the West Coast will be highlighted.

Several large mining companies are looking to remove massive volumes of sand from 2,500 square kilometres of the west coast seabed, extending from Whanganui to the Kaipara Harbour.

Prospecting and exploration licenses extend from the low tide mark to the edge of the EEZ. Mining will likely occur in the inshore area.

One single permitted area off the Taranaki coast, would allow 30 million tons of sand to be extracted annually. This would mean 150 million tons of sand being disturbed each year in one small site for 35 years, with a right of renewal for the mining company.

After leaving Hamilton the hikoi will stop at Karapiro Dam on the Waikato River which was built in the 1940s. Karapiro Power Station is the last of the eight hydroelectric power stations on the Waikato River and currently owned by Mighty River Power, the first Government owned power company proposed for sale.

Every inch of rain that falls within the catchment of the mighty Waikato River, from the slopes of Ruapehu to the fertile Waikato plains, plays a part in powering our country’s homes, businesses and futures.

Eight hydroelectric dams owned by Mighty River Power are positioned along the 400km length of the Waikato River, and harness the power of water that falls from the sky for free, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

Electricity is the oxygen of our economy. Morally and strategically power generation must remain in public hands and not the hands of a corporate few. Why would we sell such a strategic asset?

After staying at Apumoana Marae in Rotorua on Sunday night, the hikoi will assemble at the lakefront in Rotorua at 8.30am (Tutanekai St) on Monday to march to the National Party office at 9am. At 1.15pmthe hikoi will join the people of Taupo for a march through the town, to the shores of Lake Taupo, the headwaters of the mighty Waikato River.

Press release – NZ is not for sale – Friday April 27
A large colourful public protest will tomorrow join the hikoi that began on Tuesday at Cape Reinga. Concerned members of the public will march up Queen Street calling on the Government to axe plans to sell more of our assets and resources and stop negotiating secret international trade deals that would weaken our decision making powers in our own country.

People are expected to bring banners and placards that outline issues closest to their hearts to send the message nationally and internationally that Aotearoa is Not For Sale. The current Government is moving swiftly to transfer public assets and resources into the hands of private corporate interests.

The event:

2pm Rally at Victoria Park

3pm March begins from Britomart and up Queen Street

A variety of representatives will be available to talk about the following issues and many more:

* the impending threat of large scale seabed mining

* state-owned asset sales, including state housing, power companies, farms, Air NZ, and prisons

* education issues like school closures

* the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated in secret

* deep sea oil drilling

* and the aggressive push to open up Northland to mining

Next week side hikoi from Taranaki and the East Coast will converge with the central hikoi in Palmerston North before continuing to Wellington.