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Report: Auckland march against asset sales


Yesterday several thousand people marched in the Aotearoa Not for Sale protest against asset sales in Auckland.

Unfortunately I got to the city late so I missed King Kapisi starting the march with an awesome free style rap.  However, once I ran up Queen St to join the march I was impressed by the size of the crowd.

The march finished with a rally on the grass opposite Aotea Square.  The usual Aotea Square rally site is currently occupied with an ice skating rink.  The crowd spralled out onto Queen St and heard speeches from John Minto from the Mana Party, Julie Anne Genter and Russell Norman from the Greens, Phil Twyford from Labour, Helen Kelly from the Council of Trade unions and a number of state house residents battling eviction in Glen Innes. 

John Minto made a particularly sharp observation about one of National's stated reasons for selling the assets - to bolster NZ's sharemarket and give "kiwi mums and dads" something to invest in.  To seriously consider this to be a good reason to privatise NZ's power companies showed what an "epic fail" NZ's private sector had been at creating new wealth and investments.  He noted that a number of large companies on NZ's stock exchange are just privatised SOEs from the 1980s and 90s such as Telecom. 

The organisers of the demo made a call to boycott Mercury Energy, owned by Mighty River Power, which will be the first SOE to be sold, to discourage those investors who want to buy up the shares.