Approximately 150 protesters braved miserable weather to express their disgust at Condollezza Rice’s presence in their city. Many wore orange overalls depicting victims of U.S. torture authorised by the empire calling for the closure of Guantanemo bay and the arrest of the war criminal. Outside government house, where the U.S. secretary of state was meeting with Helen Clarke, speeches were made and the stars and stripes set alight to the cheers of the crowd. Later in the evening it became apparent that protesters were successful in delivering their message to those inside government house with Clarke commenting on the noise being made by the peasents outside.
Individuals and speakers from various organisations took it in turn to climb up on the back of a ute carrying a loud speaker system and spoke of New Zealand’s collusion with the United States eschelon spy network, about past present and future trade driven U.S. invasions, about murder and torture in the name of “freedom”, about how it ain’t no coincidence that Condi is the only U.S. secretary of state to have an oil super-tanker named after her and about how the New Zealand government and its corporate leaders are happily assisting with all of the above.
Following a threatening pres.s. release by the ever-politically-neutral New Zealand Police, Auckland University Students Association withdrew the $5,000 reward it had offered any student who could manage to carry out a successful citizen’s arrest of the untouchable secretary of state. The Students Association at Victoria University in Wellington responded by doubled the reward, offering $10,000. Despite several hopefuls remembering to take their hand-cuffs along just in case, Police unsurprisingly refused to do their jobs.
So, what does this mean for NZ-US trade relations anyway?
The fact that the New Zealand press were allowed to ask only TWO questions gives us an idea of what a PR farce the press conferance at government house was, but if you take a look at this ‘United States Trade Representative’ website and then you click on New Zealand up comes a document called ‘2008 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers’. Funnily enough, here you can find a list of barriers to U.S. trade that the U.S. government would prefer not to be in place. A Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. would likely remove these barriers. Take a look at the document to get an idea at what’s at stake straight from the horses mouth. Its frightening what information they give us about this, just imagine what they’re not saying.