How much money does it take to organise a hikoi and where does the money come from?
That’s a question Alf was mulling over with his mates on learning of another bloody hikoi being despatched from the Far North.
The buggers are headed for Wellington, but wandering down the North Island on a protest march is not the fastest way to get there. Chartering a plane would get them there in a matter of hours and may well be much cheaper because making the journey on foot calls for several days of daily living expenses to be met for pies, burgers, fish and chips and other nourishing kai.
You might wear out your shoes too, and they cost a few bucks.
Most of all, travelling on foot is apt to ensure you don’t actually get to Wellington in time to do whatever it is you are intending to do.
The benefit? Publicity, probably.
In this case, according to The Herald –
A hikoi against new foreshore legislation might not arrive in Wellington before the bill passes.
When Labour passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act, a hikoi travelled the length of the country swelling to about 20,000 before arriving in Wellington.
A hikoi of about 100 has left from Northland opposing the Government’s replacement legislation, aiming to arrive in Wellington on Tuesday. However, the bill could be passed this week.
Alf is not sure who is doing the counting.
Mr Goff said not only 100 people in the hikoi were opposed to it.
“It’s an overwhelming cross-section of New Zealanders that don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Alf’s colleague Chris Finlayson, the Attorney-General, has a different set of figures.
“I think there are about five or 10 who have left Kaitaia, whether it gathers momentum as they march through the towns we will wait and see. It all depends what waylays them as they travel down the island.”
But here’s the thing: Alf wonders if the latest hikoi has been launched simply because Maori enjoy a good hikoi.
Let’s see if he has a proper understanding.
In 2004, Maori were pissed off with Labour’s legislation and so we had a hikoi.
National intends to repeal the legislation that provoked the hikoi.
And so National’s legislation has provoked another hikoi.
As the Herald says of the bill –
It repeals the previous law and gives iwi the ability to seek customary rights and customary title through negotiation with Government or the High Court – although they will still have to prove exclusive use and occupation since 1840.
The bill removes the foreshore and seabed from Crown ownership and makes it a public place – essentially the same as a public domain – with access guaranteed and no one having the right to sell any of it.
Finlayson is hoping the bill will pass by the end of the week, although this depends on MPs and whether any tried to deliberately delay the process.
If there is any deliberate delaying, you can be sure Alf won’t be involved.
But it seems some of the other parties are putting up amendments.
And yep, the dead hand of Labour can be found in there somewhere.
Labour leader Phil Goff said his party would continue to oppose the bill and he criticised the process.
“The whole process has been undemocratic from the start. A 500-page report given two hours cursory examination by the select committee, pushing it through under the shadow of the Christchurch earthquake, pushing it through when John Key promised if there was staunch opposition to it he would withdraw it. He has not kept that promise.”
But let’s get back to the hikoi and the matter of money.
Whether five protesters or 100 have left Kaitaia, have they taken unpaid leave from their jobs? Are they well-heeled folks who can afford the luxury of a week or so off while they trek down the North Island? Or are they unemployed, getting their financial sustenance from the dole?
Alf hopes it is not the latter, because that would mean he is helping to fund the march as a taxpayer, and he is apt to get irritable at the idea of paying for someone to march down the country for a week just to tell him and fellow MPs what they think of the Bill that repeals the legislation that previously brought them to the capital in angry protest.