Silence is not an option

Back in June, Peter Aranyi posted about the NIMBY community who were opposing the establishment of a school for at risk youth.

Trotting out the same formula: loud protests, threats of an electoral backlash, political agitation, angry, abusive comments at meetings, orchestrated ‘letters to the editor’, frantic searches for any legal issues which could be massaged or manufactured to oppose the project, public campaign to make politicians feel the ‘heat’.

All with what aim in mind? Keeping Howick ‘safe’? Please. What a fearful, self-centred bunch.

Perhaps the wannabe Mayor of Howick and his reactionary mates/local board accomplices should provide a list of who IS allowed to live or be educated in our suburb? Then they could issue ‘passes’ for those of whom they approve.

Those were strong words at the time as the protest had only just got going. In the intervening months I have seen the rhetoric grow and had to clear their newsletters from my letter box regularly. They are implacable. There must not be a school there. Except they forget that the school buildings already exist. It isn’t a new school and the previous school also housed at risk youth.

Last night saw yet another protest. Bizarrely though the protest was held in Botany Electorate at a function organised by and for Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross.

The school however is in Pakuranga electorate. Not only that it is more than 4.1km from the protest site and 2.5km from the closest boundary of Botany electorate. Last night however in their infinite wisdom they decided to protest in Botany about “local issues”. They held up traffic and though well behaved caused long delays for people coming home from work.

To cap it all off Labour’s Botany candidate, not one to miss out some publicity decided that this important local protest was not one to miss and dutifully reported all the detail, except the important bits to Raymond Huo. Raymond, bless, in characteristic best Beijing press release style, posted at Red Alert, and made this all about the community and the great warrior Labour candidate fighting for “his” community.

The post misses the point entirely that this is about providing a safe education environment for at risk youth, something I would have though Labour would have supported. Instead Raymond Huo has given the distinct impression that he and Labour care more about middle class property values. Given that the vast majority of protestors being ordered to stand arms length apart and spread down Botany Road were asian in origin and carrying signs in Chinese writing it stands to reason that this is really and truly about the perception that education standards in the local schools will be diminshed if Thurston Place College goes ahead. This is the worst type of NIMBY-ism.

It is in effect economic apartheid and it is being supported by the Labour party.

I have also been roundly abused for opposing the protestors. Wonder at that for a moment. Here is a free-market loving, capitalist, right-wing blogger and I am sticking up for the under-privileged kids who need a safe education environment. The school site is 425m from my front door. Certainly a lot closer than the boundary of Botany Electorate where Labour’s candidate Chao-Fu Wu is battling on behalf of these Pakuranga Electorate residents. This is a massive beat up over nothing , and the risk touted are ridiculous. If I am not at all concerned then why are these residents?

What astounds me the most is that Raymond Huo is trying to make this sound like an un-caring government in action. All he succeeds in doing is making him and Labour look like the selfish, nimby enablers they are.

I can no longer remain silent at the politicisation of this issue by Labour against at-risk youth. It beggars belief that Labour is essentially saying that because these kids aren’t from round here that they should be schooled elsewhere, despite them failing in every other educational environment they have been in.

It is things like this that make me ashamed sometimes to be a New Zealander. It is disgusting.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.