Spent the morning outside the Labour Party (almost typed pastry - but more on that) Congress held at Wellington Town Hall today protesting against the Electoral Finance Act. I have never seen as many corpulent people gathered in one place; so many people wearing red and a goodly number of smokers. A mostly (but not entirely) good-humoured bunch they gave John Boscawen a fair go and security let him interact freely with comers and goers. John didn't want a party-political protest although a couple of young Nats tried to turn it into one. For the main we were pretty quiet and polite and the non-conference goers passing by frequently made comments of support. We were there from 8.30 to noon. The PM still hadn't arrived. Then a line of police formed in front of us.
I said to the officer facing me, "Look, we've been here since 8.30 and we've been peaceful.
"It's not for you," he replied, "There's another bunch coming in."
Within about ten minutes we could hear them. Mana Motuhake O Tuhoe. It wasn't unexpected and we had been tossing up whether to up sticks at that point because we did not want the two issues confused or to be tarnished by any violence. That's why we were there early. So that is what we did but quite happily. Our protest ended at around 12.30. John had engaged a good number of MPs, argued with Mike Williams and completed a few media interviews. He is doing an admirable job of engaging and keeping the issue alive. Let's hope he gets the coverage he deserves on tonight's news. It may be swamped by subsequent proceedings.
Update; This is exactly the sort of report we wanted to avoid; About 50 people protesting a grab-bag of issues from climate change to last year's so-called terror raids, the electoral finance act, and climate change screamed obscenities at delegates including Labour MPs as they waited for the fire service.
General Debate 10 December 2016
21 minutes ago