The 99%’s Message


By Alan and Helen Tristram

The Occupy Wellington protesters say they’re determined to carry on despite the loss of 15 tents in the huge storm this week.

Two dozen or so protesters, who want to see major changes in our capitalist society, are living in the remaining 26 tents pitched on  a grassed area at the top of steps leading down to Civic Square.

The group comprise a variety of people and number many Maori, including two who act as security guards as well as a Maori kaumatua, Mau Potatau.

The group members struck Helen and I as a friendly, committed bunch – intelligent and with an idealistic vision they want to share with anyone who will listen.

One of the campers, Benjamin Easton, told us they’d been getting 80 or 90 visitors a day during festive weekends; and most were supportive, with only a few who were hostile.

He said they’d been warned by the authorities they would have to move. But Benjamin said the occupiers were there for the long haul.

The group’s vision statement says: ”We stand in solidarity with with pro-democracy movements around the world.”

New Zealand’s problems

And looking at New Zealand, the organisers say they want action on inequality, which makes NZ ‘the third most unequal society in the OECD, with an ever-widening gap between rich and poor.’

They also point to an ‘unprecedented number’ of Parliamentary Bills passed under urgency during the past three years, which removed the right to publicly debate the issues.

They are also upset by the National Government’s lack of commitment to the Environment and by its policies on education and fair wages.

So they are urging the public in the posters on railings at the edge of the camp to “Get Irate and Get Involved.”

And against the background of the darkening world economic climate, it seems their message may soon be taken up by many more people who at present just passively agree.