Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Protest Against Superfund Investments

Yesterday around 30 students and members of the public marched from Auckland University to the New Zealand Superfund. The protest was in opposition to the New Zealand superannuation fund’s investment in several weapons manufacturers and Freeport McMoRan a mining company aiding the occupation of west Papua. The march attracted considerable public and police attention on the way and blocked traffic on several normally busy streets. Upon reaching the superfund students moved into and occupied the lobby of the Quay Tower at the bottom of town. Ringed by police and security guards the students chanted and disrupted the normal flow of business. The leader of the march then negotiated the occupying students withdrawal in exchange for him and another member of the protest being allowed to go up to the superfund and express their opposition to its investments.

After several minutes of negations in which it was constantly stressed this was a “peaceful and nonviolent protest” The leader was escorted by several police and security up to the superfund offices. The students meanwhile conducted a picket outside the offices with several speeches given. Upon return we were informed that the superfund was undergoing a “review process” and that our concerns were noted.

At one point during negotiations between the leader of the protest and police I began a chant only to be angrily confronted by another protest for potentially endangering the negotiations saying "dont you want him to be able to meet them" to which I replied "not really" when I asked her how it would make any differene I was told "its the personal connection that matters you know, that umm talking personally". Well I dont think the personal connection makes any difference and thought we may have traded away our occupation for a disempowering snob by an official. I dont think talking to the government will change anything and when you need to get 30 people to occupy a lobby and a police escort to talk to a minor official then I think we are in a bad way indeed.

While the turn out was small most of the people there were new. I'm glad that anti war events are occuring outside of the typical march but hope actions are more effective in future. For anyone wanting to visit the superfund personally they are on the 12th floor of the quay street towers Auckland City.

Two protesters escorted up to superfund offices

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