Trotter, the military and the TPPA

Earlier in the week Christ Trotter wrote in The Press that Josie Butler had claimed there was military protection at the Christchurch TPPA Roadshow.

Certainly, Ms Butler’s description of the Christchurch roadshow makes a strong prima facie case for concern. In her report of the event she states that: “I went to the first security check point which was at the front driveway to the [Rydges] hotel. The guards asked for my ID, and whilst I was getting it out I noticed one of the guys had an army badge pinned to his lapel, I asked him if he was military and he confirmed that all security present today were army personnel.”

Constitutionally-speaking, this claim is particularly alarming. The only circumstances in which it is justifiable for the Civil Power to call upon the assistance of the Military Power are those in which there is a demonstrable threat to life and property. Historically, the involvement of the Military has been confined to helping out during natural disasters and, extremely rarely, to the quelling of widespread public disorder – like that following the 1932 Queen Street Riot. Nothing even remotely resembling such circumstances were present last Friday in Christchurch.

Urgent efforts must be made to confirm the accuracy of Ms Butler’s claim. And if it is confirmed that the NZDF was involved in providing security for the roadshow, then questions need to be asked. First, of the Defence Minister, and second, of the Police Minister. Did Gerry Brownlee know that the Military Power had been called upon to assist the Civil Power in Christchurch? If so, at whose instigation? Does Judith Collins know why the local Police were deemed unequal to the task of preventing disorder at Rydges Hotel?

Frankly, it would be a whole lot better for New Zealand …whoever Ms Butler spoke to about his military lapel badge turns out to have been pulling her leg about the composition of the security detail. Because, if her version of events is proved correct, then New Zealand is in a world of trouble.

What sort of “trade deal” have we signed-up to, if its explanatory roadshow requires the protection of the armed forces?

This was potentially quite alarming but Butler was not an impartial witness.

Trotter has reposted Protecting The TPP at Bowalley and has added an update.

On Tuesday, 15 March the author received a call from Nick Bryant, Gerry Brownlee’s media officer. He informed him that, having checked with both the NZDF and MFAT, the Minister was able to assure him that no serving military personnel were involved with providing security at the Christchurch TPPA roadshow event.

When contacted, Josie Butler strongly reiterated her claim that the security personnel hailed from the military.

An appeal for assistance was issued over social media which quickly produced a link to a private security firm called October Protection.

According to its website:

October Protection is a Christchurch based security and protection company with branches in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin and associates throughout New Zealand. We provide industry-leading hospitality security, along with VIP transport, helicopter services, secure event, travel and accommodation packages New Zealand wide ….. Many of our staff come from military, police, corrections and close protection backgrounds and their experience is diverse and extensive, providing October Protection with a vast array of specialist skills.

It would seem that both Josie Butler and the Minister were telling the truth.

Butler may have been sort telling something related to the truth, but Trotter embellished it somewhat. The TPPA Roadshow does not appear to have been protected by the armed forces as he intimated.

 

Butler and Trotter versus TPP

Christ Trotter has based his latest column on the word of anti-TPP activist Josie Butler –  Protecting the TPP

The heavily guarded Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) travelling roadshow came to Christchurch last week.

The word “heavily” is used advisedly. According to the reportage of Josie Butler (who staged a peaceful protest at the event and was escorted from the auditorium)…

Apparently Butler hid a dildo down her pants to get past bag searches.

…the roadshow was not only protected by upwards of 30 police officers, but also by 40 members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Those numbers surprise me. I saw two or three police officers outside the Dunedin venue (and the same number of protesters, and no one that looked like they were from the New Zealand Defence Force.

Butler’s reportage further alleges that the roadshow had at least one other protector – its government-appointed chairman, broadcaster Sean Plunket.

If Butler’s description of the proceedings is accurate…

That would surprise me.

…then it is fair to say that Plunket has opted for an alarmingly heavy-handed approach to chairing these gatherings. Participants are restricted to asking questions of the presenters and will be interrupted aggressively if they so much as attempt to contextualise their queries. Hecklers are summarily ejected.

There was no sign of this at all in Dunedin. Plunket was polite and gentle with questioners. The only times he interrupted ‘questions’ was to ask for an actual question rather than a long statement (which are the bane of public meetings).

Plunket told me that in Christchurch most of those attending were well behaved and participated reasonably, and there was a small number of very vocal protesters.

What was presented to New Zealanders as an opportunity to participate in a free and frank discussion of the costs and benefits of the TPP, is being experienced by those attendees not already convinced of the agreement’s benefits as little more than a crude propaganda exercise.

That’s a crude assessment based on the word of one fairly extreme protester.

Even worse, these meetings are alleged to have been conducted in a fashion that treats dissent as a hostile and potentially criminal act.

Disrupting events can be seen as hostile. Throwing objects at people is seen as  a potentially criminal act by many people. Outside the Christchurch event Butler squirted a liquid at people. That’s not just dissent, that’s aggressive attack.

The case in favour of the TPP needs to be made in full acknowledgement of its inherently adversarial nature. After all, the roadshow is the first official occasion for the public’s direct participation in the TPP debate. Critics of the deal should, therefore, be encouraged by the chair to make their case, and the government’s spokespeople required to answer their criticisms as well as their questions.

I saw exactly that in Dunedin.

Certainly, Butler’s description of the Christchurch roadshow makes a strong prima facie case for concern. In her report of the event she states that: “I went to the first security check point which was at the front driveway to the [Rydges] hotel. The guards asked for my ID, and whilst I was getting it out I noticed one of the guys had an army badge pinned to his lapel, I asked him if he was military and he confirmed that all security present today were army personnel.”

I didn’t see anything like that in Dunedin, but unlike Christchurch we don’t have a military camp handy.

Constitutionally-speaking, this claim is particularly alarming. The only circumstances in which it is justifiable for the Civil Power to call upon the assistance of the Military Power are those in which there is a demonstrable threat to life and property. Historically, the involvement of the military has been confined to helping out during natural disasters and, extremely rarely, to the quelling of widespread public disorder – like that following the 1932 Queen Street Riot. Nothing even remotely resembling such circumstances were present last Friday in Christchurch.

I don’t know whether the military has been only confined to helping in natural disasters before or not. They don’t appear to have caused any problems in Christchurch.

Frankly, it would be a whole lot better for New Zealand if Butler’s record of the Christchurch TPP roadshow turns out to be inaccurate.

I think some of it probably was inaccurate, or at least quite slanted.

That Plunket was, in fact, the soul of politeness and a stalwart facilitator of free speech and open debate.

He was in Dunedin.

And that whoever Butler spoke to about his military lapel badge turns out to have been pulling her leg about the composition of the security detail. Because, if her version of events is proved correct, then New Zealand is in a world of trouble.

I don’t know if this is the big deal that Trotter is trying to make of it or not.

And according to this TVNZ report Plunket sounds polite in dealing with Butler:

Dildo throwing nurse returns with sex toy at Christchurch TPP event

Nurse Josie Butler used a remarkably similar dildo at the Government’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) roadshow in Christchurch yesterday, which was filmed on camera.

Speaking at the event at the Rydges Hotel she attempted to hold a presentation ceremony for chief TPP negotiator David Walker.

“David Walker, I am here today on behalf of the vast majority of New Zealanders to present you with the New Zealand Dick of the Year Award,” she said.

However, a security guard removes the microphone from Ms Butler, while moderator Sean Plunket can be heard saying “no, you’re not, Josie”.

“Okay, thank you, Josie. That is great,” he said, as Mrs Butler is led away by security staff.

That doesn’t sound like “an alarmingly heavy-handed approach”.

And Butler doesn’t act on behalf of “the vast majority of New Zealanders” who I suspect will see her as an embarrassing nuisance.

But Trotter is prepared to take her at her word and base a major scandal on it.

Has anyone else voiced any concerns about the Christchurch Roadshow? I can’t find any.

 

Josie Butler and her squeaky toy

Josie Butler is the Christchurch nurse who through what she shows is a squeaky toy.sex toy at Steven Joyce at Waitangi. She has released a short video explaining this on Facebook.

JosieButler

She has also done an interview with ManaNews – EXCLUSIVE: Josie Butler tells all about dildo attack.

Can you explain the reason for you throwing the dildo at Steven Joyce?

I’m a nurse and I’m very concerned about the effects of the TPP on my patients. I believe, and I am not alone, that the TPP will have profoundly negative effects on New Zealand, socially, culturally and economically. I care deeply about my country and it’s people, and I want NZers to know that we can still avoid this outcome. This agreement has not been ratified yet.

Balanced debate on the issue has been continually shut down by the government. I think it is a shame that it takes a hard-working nurse throwing a dildo at a politician to open up this debate.

She hasn’t opened up ‘balanced debate’. Debate has been going on about the TPPA for years. If anything she polarised debate about the TPPA, and about the relevance of Waitangi on what is supposed to be the focal point of a national occasion. She has added to the circus.

When did you decide you wanted to do this, and did you act alone or with others?

I’ve been campaigning against the TPP for two years. We have been taking part in the democratic process, we’ve been to the City Council, we’ve educated people, we’ve organised numerous peaceful protests. The TPP is not good for NZ, and I will not give up working towards a healthier NZ, a stronger NZ, a fairer NZ.

So it looks like she is not interested in balanced debate, she has been a strong opponent of the TPPA for two years.

When you said “that’s for raping our sovereignty”, can you elaborate on it?

The TPPA is the rape of our tino rangitiratanga, the torture our basic human rights, and the murder of our people. We already have over 300,000 children living below the poverty line, I don’t want to live in a country where families have to choose between potentially life saving medication or feeding their children because of the increased price of medications under the TPPA.

The Government claims that the price of medications won’t go up – they will continue to be subsidised. There is no evidence that the price of medications will increase under the TPPA as far as I’m aware.

Can you detail how you got into being anti-TTPA, and what active work you’ve done around this?

I got involved through the Nurses Union. I heard the grave concerns from the medical professionals around me about the TPPA and became aware of what was at stake. Those concerns haven’t disappeared now the text is out. I’ve been active in the campaign for two years, and have organised numerous peaceful protests and actions throughout Christchurch, and have spent countless hours campaigning against this. The TPPA is not primarily a trade agreement, it is a mechanism whereby global corporations can override the sovereignty and lawful decisions of nation states.

That’s fairly standard anti-TPPA rhetoric which is not backed by facts.

Can you describe what the fallout has been like since this? (Good,bad, supportive, ugly, and examples)

The overwhelming support and Aroha from around the world has been amazing. Now that the world is having the conversation about the TPPA maybe we can all do something about it.

If she thinks her squeaky toy throwing has initiated a ‘conversation about the TPPA’ around the world she is overestimating the effect of her actions somewhat.

Did you expect it to gain this much attention?

The aim was to gain awareness about the atrocity that is the TPPA

Most of the attention was on the farce of Waitangi being famous for taking cheap shots at politicians. Some people like what it is, especially political activists and media, but most New Zealanders can’t be bothered with it.

JosieButlerFistSalute

 

That doesn’t look much like a balanced debate salute.

FistSalute

The clenched fist salute has been used by many in the past, including black power, white power, Anders Breivik and socialists.

Butler has been organising anti-TPPA protests for some time. She attended the Auckland protest last Thursday.

A year ago on Facebook she posted this on a Te Matatini Festival kapa haka page:

Kia ora whanau, my name is Josie, I’m a nurse from Otautahi, and I am messaging you all to ask for your help. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is a free trade agreement due to be signed by our government very soon, and if it goes through it will have dire consequences for Aotearoa. Prescription medications will cost a lot more money, foreign investors will be given more rights to buy up NZ, our cultural heritage can be trademarked and copyright by the highest bidder, and foreign corporations will be able to sue the NZ government if we do not meet their demands.

We are organising a National Day of Action on the 7th of March to stand up against the atrocity, and to show our government that this is not something that New Zealand wants to be a part of. The Christchurch protest will go down Riccarton Road, and finish at Deans Ave/Riccarton Road (right in front of Hagley Park).
Te Matatini is on this date at Hagley Park.

I am messaging you all to ask if any of the kapa haka groups would be interested in meeting our protest at Deans Ave/Riccarton Road and helping us complete our stand with a haka at approximately 2pm on 7.3.15. I want you to be able to tell your mokopuna one day that the reason they can afford essential and vital health care and medicines is because you stood up for their basic human rights.

He waka eke noa. Arohanui.

Not very balanced. And not very accurate – eg “Prescription medications will cost a lot more money” – as this was a long time before the TPP agreement was reached and it became known what it would actually mean.

But as with other protesters Butler is continuing the same claims of fear of serious effects despite them not being realised in the agreement.