I find it ridiculous that organizing a short protest march along Paraparaumu’s roads, like the one planned by the anti-water meters group (Ask Us First) for this Friday, requires a Traffic Management Plan to be lodged with KCDC.
This appears to be a bureaucratic overkill of the people’s rights in a democracy.
( As Us First earlier complained of a Council demand that they pay $250, plus GST, for a traffic management plan)
Even if practical safety reasons are being cited by council staff, I do not think there is going to be a massive turnout that would require a costly management plan.
8,000 signatures on petition
It is a fact that the Ask Us First campaign organisers have gathered 8000 signatures for their petition against meters.
It is also a fact that, when they have organised a protest against meters, only about 50 to 60 people have turned up. This smaller number does not de-legitimise the representative value of the activist group participating in a demonstration.
It would be very easy for a group of even 200 people to self manage a protest march safely without having to go through a costly bureaucratic process.
Some years ago, when businessman Murray Cole bought Paraparaumu Airport, there was a land occupation by local Maori and their supporters.
A march of a few hundred people along Kapiti Road to the Paraparaumu Police Station was organised to support those arrested. There was no traffic management plan.
In recent years there was a massive spontaneous march from Paraparaumu College to Kapiti College by students fed-up with a teachers’ strike. There was no trouble and no need for a traffic management plan.
Last year I was involved in the anti-expressway march from the Wellington Railway Station to Parliament grounds. I don’t recall there being a Traffic Management Plan and no punitive action was taken by the police against the marchers or organisers.