MANA Movement leader Hone Harawira is urging New Zealanders to use civil disobedience tactics against what he describes as the “corporate takeover” of the country.
Occupying properties, disrupting businesses, blocking motorways and closing off intersections during peak traffic are just some of the strategies Mr Harawira endorsed at a Mana meeting in Wellington’s Newtown last night.
Mr Harawira (right) condemned government plans to partially privatise four state-owned energy companies, and dismissed the government’s claims that asset sales will open the doors to “mum and dad” investors.
“Rather than being managed for the benefit of all of us, these companies will operate purely for profit, and it’ll be irreversible.
“The profits aren’t going to go to mum and dad, the profits will come from mum and dad paying higher power bills,” he said.
“It’s not just about fighting this or that piece of legislation, we have to stand together and fight back against the corporate takeover of this country.
“We need to stop the juggernaut in its tracks, and that will take action on a whole bunch of levels. It’s time we brought the war home. We’re in a war for our children’s future.”
While the focus stayed on asset sales, Mr Harawira discussed a variety of issues over the course of the two hour meeting, raising concerns about welfare reforms, the growing gap between rich and poor and the difficulties facing young people in New Zealand.
He criticised the idea that the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process has delivered a better life to Maori in New Zealand.
He argued instead that against the backdrop of an emerging Maori elite, while “iwi corporates” are doing exceedingly well this has not translated into a way out of poverty for most Maori.
Towards the end of the evening a heated exchange took place between Mr Harawira and Wellington political journalist Gordon Campbell.
Mr Campbell suggested that the political controversy and legal restrictions on investment could force down the price of the privatised assets, resulting in them being sold for less than their actual value.
Mr Campbell, who is strongly opposed to asset sales, was subjected to a barrage of swear words by Mr Harawira.
The Mana Party leader angrily declared that he fully intended to destroy the price by any means at his disposal, whether for overseas or New Zealand investors.
“That’s one tactic, I suppose,” Mr Campbell was heard to mutter.
Mr Harawira said he intends to use all the resources available to him as a Member of Parliament to travel up and down the country, holding meetings, giving speeches and taking action to mobilise support for his cause.
“Certain officials in parliament don’t want me doing or saying these things, but now I’m leader of the Mana Movement I don’t have to listen to them,” he said.