#anfs #Hikoi lets off steam in Palmerston (+photos)

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Name a grievance against the Government and chances are it was aired in The Square when the Aotearoa Not for Sale Hikoi rolled into Palmerston North.

About 200 people attended the protest yesterday, with speakers opposing the Government’s partial sale of power companies, deep sea oil drilling, mining, the Crafar farm sales and a range of other issues.

Included in the crowd were a large contingent of locked-out Talley’s-Affco staff, unionists, environmentalists, members of the Maori, Green, and Mana parties and veteran protesters.

Judy Lawrence, of Feilding, was one of the seasoned demonstrators. She said she attended her first protest, for the right of women to own land, in 1963.

“I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted with the sale of our country,” she said. “We must protect this land from the ravages and wreckage that is being done by the National Government.”

For the protest, Manawatu residents were joined by a convoy of 12 vehicles of people who have been travelling in the past week down the North Island.

Hikoi organiser Mike Smith told the crowd “we’re carrying these issues down from Cape Reinga … we don’t believe our country should be owned and controlled by foreign companies”.

“We’re building this consensus around the country and sending a clear message to [Prime Minister] John Key that our assets are not for sale.”

Mr Smith said he was heartened by the range of groups who attended the protest.

“We may have differences about other things but it’s good to put aside those difference to protect our country from foreign takeover.”

The Government abandoned plans to mine resources on high-value conservation land after a march down Auckland’s Queen St, Mr Smith said, and if enough people stood up against asset sales National could drop the plan.

“If we can make this politically toxic, I think we can get the Government to back away.”

National has shown no sign of that, however, as it tries to keep debt and spending in check amid continuing international economic trouble.

Tomorrow the hikoi will be in Johnsonville, part of Peter Dunne’s Ohariu electorate.

Mr Smith said they were targeting Dunne because his vote could stop the asset sales from going ahead.

Fairfax NZ News

2 COMMENTS

  1. You are ALL doing an awesome job bringing everyone in NZ together to make the Government realise they work for US don’t dictate to US! Tena rawa atu koutou mo to kaha!!

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