Security at this weekend’s National Party conference was tighter than I have ever seen it and there was a very large police presence.
Much larger than the protests as it turns out.
Their target wasn’t the conference or the MPs but the media – however, they failed to impress them too:
Tracy Watkins says the damp protest shows the heat has gone from asset sales fire:
If ever the Government needed reassurance the heat had gone out of the asset sales debate, it came with the tired protest by the handful of familiar old faces outside SkyCity.
It would have been laughable if not for the dozens of police rostered to spend their weekend outside the annual gathering of National Party faithful in Auckland . . .
And John Armstrong says the thin protest confirms Nats’ faith:
National’s annual conference was not short of protests. But the protests were embarrassingly short of protesters.
Contrary to the impression given by some accounts, the 400 or so party faithful did not spend their weekend cowering inside Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre behind a not-so-thin blue line of police.
The police showed up in significant number; the protesters did not. Yesterday morning’s all-comers rally against everything National stands for drew a total of 79 people – it may well have been counter-productive.
John Key and his senior ministers will take the paucity of protesters as confirming National is on side with majority public opinion in pushing ahead with controversial policies such as more welfare reform and much more oil and mineral exploration.
National believes – or rather its polling is telling it – that most voters are now desperately hungry for serious economic growth. The environment has become very much a secondary concern. . .
That doesn’t meant he environment is not important. It does mean that the focus should go on working out how to reduce and mitigate any risk to it rather than just giving a blanket no to any development which is needed to create jobs and increase prosperity.
None of the few banners I saw even mentioned asset sales, a few mentioned the poor and it is the poor who have most to gain from policies which will increase economic growth.
The protesters promised fireworks, they delivered a damp squib. They hoped to make a strong showing of opposition but displayed only their own weakness.