On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, after a lunch with right-minded friends, I headed to Aotea Square for the rally against the UN Migration Compact.
The organisers, NZ Sovereignty, had set up a tent with a table. Well-made placards with good messages on them were available for all those who wanted to carry one and signup forms were available for those who wanted to join the cause. They were selling some merchandise: mugs of Winston Peters branded a liar, bumper stickers decrying the UN Compact, and red hats with "MNZGA" embroidered on them.
The red hats caused a few problems, as they always do. Once you trigger a leftist, they're very hard to un-trigger so that you can have a normal conversation.
While I was greeting all those I recognised, people came to the tables to ask questions and ralliers were constantly engaging interested passer-bys in conversation. The total turnout was around a hundred and fifty, which has been a fairly constant number over the last year of rallies for free speech or against the UN. Not an abysmal turnout, but also not the kind of numbers that will be the harbinger of change.
Right on queue at 4pm, some protesters turned up. The socialist front group, "Love Racism, Hate Aotearoa" (or was it the other way around?) had organised a little picnic the next park over to celebrate migrants. They didn't quite have the turnout they were expecting. Perhaps for the first time in New Zealand history, the right managed to out-organise the left.
Shouting ensued and the usual "why do you hate migrants" cry led the way. The very same people who spend every other day moaning about past colonisation from the palace at Buckingham now want the UN Headquarters in New York to tell us who can come live in New Zealand.
At one point the shouting by hecklers got so loud that a group of patriots started to sing the national anthem. "Now sing it in Te Reo" a protester mocked as the English version was wrapping up. Much to her surprise, the anthem in Maori followed up. She left not long after.
Another fun adaptation of left-wing tactics ensued when an Iranian friend told a protester to "check your white privilege". The poor lefty was lost for words. I tried the same tactic on a young politics student who was trying to drown out Elliot Ikilei. I even followed it up with a cheeky "don't be disrespectful to people of colour" and "do you hate brown people?" (That one may have been a bit over the top, but I was really getting into it.) The annoyed look he gave me was priceless. He piped down. Another woman tried to rush the stage not long after. They really do hate Elliot the most. Perhaps it's because they perceive that he threatens Labour's traditional voting bloc.
The UN Migration Pact, which really aims to legitimise illegal immigration, was quietly voted for by Winston Peters at the UN. Parliament was informed in the last hour of December's session. This was a clear attempt by the government to simply sweep this under the rug in the hopes that it would be forgotten over the holiday break. This was a theme that both Stephen Berry from ACT and Elliot Ikilei from NC picked up on.
Elliot's impersonation of our government with the "hey hey, calm down! ... you wanna smoke some weed?" line got one of the biggest laughs. It was a core part of his message: the government isn't trying to change your mind anymore, they've given up on you and they're trying to go after your children. He ripped into the Marxist agenda that's permeated through the public school indoctrination system - from drugs to gender confusion to all manner of sexual perversions being taught to children. All of this comes from "non-binding" UN agendas too.
Stephen Berry pushed ACT's credentials as the only party in parliament that truly supports free speech. He acknowledged that we can all have different views on migration, but that those decisions should stay in New Zealand and not be beholden by the whims of foreign bureaucracy. Stephen showed how these "non-binding" agreements become binding, citing last month's review on our human rights record, by the worst violators of human rights on the planet. All of these recommendations they make are "non-binding", but our government inevitably implement the vast bulk of them.
One of the organisers, Jesse Anderson spoke as well. His "integrate or get out" statement was so good that a spinster at the Spinoff used it as their headline. It's a sentiment that I, as an immigrant myself, whole-heartily agree with.
Another speaker made a passionate plea to the protesters "we're doing this for you". Our sovereignty as a nation is at stake – everyone's voice is at risk of being overridden by UN diktat.
Can the right do a "street protest" movement? Whether this event should be considered a success depends a bit on the organisers' goals. NZ Sovereignty sure have the basic infrastructure in place - but getting people out to make their displeasure heard is a bit harder. Things aren't "that bad" in New Zealand yet and the gradual effects of eroding sovereignty aren't immediately felt. Even when things get that bad, we need only look to England for the likely response that we'll see here: one of apathy. The police over there interrogate you over the tweets that you've liked and there still isn't any rioting in the streets.
People like Jesse and Jules are trying their hardest to make sure those scenes will never replay themselves in New Zealand. For that they should be applauded and encouraged.
Personally, I find it worth it just to get out and meet new people or catch up with old friends. It's nice to get away from the keyboard and discuss things with people in real life. For some, it's a much needed reminder that they aren't alone in their political views. It's encouraging to hear that my writings (and imperial moustache) are much appreciated by readers.
As one of the speakers said, "this is a small gathering and from a small gathering can come great things."
Time will tell.