Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Protest march's simple message: No

The hikoi moved slowly up Auckland's Queen Street yesterday on its two-week trip from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Photo / Doug Sherring
The hikoi moved slowly up Auckland's Queen Street yesterday on its two-week trip from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Photo / Doug Sherring

It was just two words, but the message on 14-year-old Phoebe Millwood's banner matched the sentiments of thousands as they marched through central Auckland yesterday to protest the Government's planned asset sales.

An estimated 3000 people joined politicians, unionists and community leaders in the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale hikoi, which passed through Auckland on its two-week journey from Cape Reinga to Wellington.

Among them was Phoebe and her friend Gloria Strawhan, 13, who carried a banner with the words "Just No" scrawled across it.

It was the overriding message of protesters as they walked up Queen St from Britomart to Aotea Square.

Asset sales? No. Privatisation and the sale of land to overseas investors? No. Mining, fracking and drilling? No. Auckland mayor Len Brown? Step down, the crowd chanted. Act Party leader John Banks? Boo, they hollered.

Another protester, an Auckland office manager who did not want to be named, carried a placard with the message: "Too many complaints for one poster".

"There's so many things to disagree with," the woman said.

"The sale of assets, oil drilling, the cronyism, the teapot tapes, the SkyCity deal, charter schools, the sale of state houses. I'm not here with a political party, I just represent my own voice."

Hikoi organiser Mike Smith said the protest was about making sure New Zealand's resources and assets were not controlled by other countries.

The Government did not have a mandate to sell assets, despite being elected after saying they would, said Smith.

"Even National supporters said they didn't want them sold."

- Herald on Sunday

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