Auckland March Against Electoral Finance Bill An Outstanding Success

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The march was an outstanding success and was attended by over 5,000 people.  The previous march I organized just a fortnight earlier was attended by over 2,000 people and yesterday’s march had more than twice that attendance.  The marches spread over more than two city blocks down Queen Street.

The marches represented a broad cross section of New Zealand society.  At the end of the rally I asked everyone who had not previously marched in their lives either prior to yesterday, or prior to the first march a fortnight earlier to raise their hands.  Easily three-quarters of those present indicated they had not previously marched.

Prior to yesterday I had organized marches in Auckland [Saturday 17 November], Wellington [Wednesday 21 November], and Christchurch [Wednesday 28 November].

I organised the second march for the following reasons:

  1. Following the first Auckland march the Prime Minister dismissed the over 2000 people present as being members of the ACT and National parties and “not being indicative of a groundswell”.  The calls to talkback radio and letters to the editor told her how wrong she was.  I wanted to provide another opportunity for New Zealanders to demonstrate their opposition to the Electoral Finance Bill.
  2. Since the last march the Bill has been reported back to Parliament and has passed its second reading.  Despite the protestations of Human Rights Commission the restrictions placed on free speech under the Bill will apply for a full election year, a potential eleven months in every three year electoral cycle.  No other democracy in the world has such severe restrictions.
  3. The government continues to ignore the submissions of the Human Rights Commission in three principal areas.  These are:
    1. The Bill be withdrawn
    2. If the Bill is not to be withdrawn, it would be essential that any changes be subject to the widest possible public scrutiny.
    3. The regulatory period should be no more than three months and not the potential eleven months.