All Quiet on the Wellington Front

A stunning picture from the Guardian.

Today is Thursday March 3rd, 2022. Kia ora.

Last night I got a message to say that this morning’s Tai Chi class at the Ngatitoa Domain Hall had been cancelled.  Some of the protesters, removed from their camp in Thorndon, have moved to the Ngatitoa Domain. Others are reported to be heading to the South Island, to Picton, or Cranmer Square in Christchurch.  That is so annoying, and such a shame!  I feel so sorry for the good people who live and work in the Mana area: there’s one New World Supermarket there, and two or three cafés; it’s not a large area.  So I’m glad on the one hand, but sorry on the other – I was going to go to Tai Chi this morning.

I am still very upset about the violence here in the Thorndon area, as police strove to move the protesters away.  There are more stories in this morning’s Dompost; it remains shocking. I remember the protests against the Springbok Tour in 1981, which were probably the most violent protests in New Zealand to date. Whole families came down on different sides of the debate. Many who loved rugby were appalled that this tour should attempt to take place. But no one took their children, tooted, set up tents, or threw rocks at police, or set anything on fire. No one drove a vehicle at the police. Someone said this was a better class of protesters! I watched the livestream posted by Stuff late yesterday afternoon, and I was shocked then, and I remain shocked, at what I saw. At one time I called JD, saying you have to watch this, it’s like the fall of the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11. It’s reported that 87 arrests were made, and 7 police injured. I saw images of police retreating, at one stage. A car was driven past, and then backed into a group of police.  There were pitchforks, and things set on fire!  This is not New Zild. This is not who we are.  But I suspect some of the protesters have no homes to go back to; they evidently felt safe in this so-called community, which was also well-funded. That does not excuse the abuse, however.

There were also reports of a laser shone at a police helicopter. The police operation lasted from before dawn until well into the evening. Meanwhile the police were dealing with a paedophile ring, and a rugby league star being imprisoned for importing meth.

Why don’t the protesters protest a real issue, like inflation?  The price of petrol has gone up bigtime since Ukraine was invaded by Russia. Inflation ain’t helping.

This morning I went to the optometrist in the city. The trains are running again, and we can move about the CBD. However there was a significant police presence in Featherston St.  There was also a small protest: Bullying is not ok! read one sign, but I don’t know who was protesting, or what the issue was.

Afterwards I stayed in town for a bit. It was pretty quiet there. No 2 buses are using the bus stop outside David Jones, the rest are still using Brandon St.  There are not many people in Midland Square, but there is a woman there, I suspect from the protesters, who’s talking loudly to anyone who’ll listen. She has no audience. 

The 1 pm announcement is predictably awful. There are 23,183 community cases (reported) of Covid 19, with 503 people in hospital, and 7 in Intensive Care. In Australia, Victoria reports 23 deaths from Covid 19! It certainly seems that if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re less likely to be hospitalised, or die, from Covid 19. The Khandallah Town Hall has cancelled all activities for next week. Apparently a new website allows you to order free RAT tests online.

It’s reported that the new cases were in Northland (520), Auckland (13,237), Waikato (1870), Bay of Plenty (1332), Lakes (537), Hawke’s Bay (315), MidCentral (381), Whanganui (79), Taranaki (289), Tairāwhiti (134), Wairarapa (94), Capital & Coast (1487), Hutt Valley (642), Nelson Marlborough (271), Canterbury (1294), South Canterbury (53), Southern (615), West Coast (16); and 17 were in unknown locations.

This afternoon the Assistant Police Commissioner spoke publicly about yesterday’s operation, and ongoing activities to monitor the situation. We’re all aware that protesters are going to other places.

And now, back to the major conflict in Ukraine. It’s said that Russian forces have taken the city of Kherson; that there is serious bombardment of Ukrainian cities; but that the long convoy on its way to Kyiv has stalled; messages and communications have been easily intercepted, it seems the morale amongst Russian troops is very low, and some may have no food or petrol.  On the other hand, the bombardment is severe, and no one doubts Putin’s barbarity.  Some actions have been interpreted as war crimes, and taken to the ICC. No one doubts the bravery of the Ukrainians, but while a lot of support has been expressed, it hasn’t translated into actual assistance as requested by Zelensky. Many civilians have been killed; there are many refugees.  Even if arms are supplied, how do you get them to where they’re required?

It’s now Friday March 4th. Kia ora.

This morning I listen to an RNZ podcast about the police operation in Thorndon. I read on the Stuff website that some protesters have made their way to the Marae at Wainuiomata, (one of the first vaccination sites), where they don’t get a warm welcome. A man causing a disturbance has now been taken away by police. In Wellington, the clean-up of the site continues. There may be more arrests. It’s clear that some really unpleasant elements infiltrated the protest.  It was a huge police operation to clear the site. It’s reported to be very smelly.

I was expecting someone from Access to come and do some cleaning today, but I looked up my schedule online (which is a challenge in itself), and found today’s help has been cancelled. No text message, no call was received.  Last Friday I cancelled; the Friday before was a no-show.

This morning we went shopping at New World in Thorndon. It was lovely there, not too busy; the lovely woman who served us thanked us for coming back! We are so pleased to shop there relatively safely again. They had cauliflowers at $4.99 each. That’s a far cry from the $15 which keeps popping up in my news feed. They also had feijoas, at $18.99 per kilo. They’re the harbinger of autumn, but the price has to get much lower before I will buy any. We bought salads, raspberries, apricots, cucumber, tonic water, bread, and apple and apricot pies.

In Ukraine, the mood has changed somewhat. There are 1 million refugees fleeing the war. Others are staying and fighting. This unprovoked attack on Ukraine is obviously no walkover; the Russians are sustaining some casualties, and have poor morale; clearly it gets harder for the brave Ukrainians to resist. You can only cope without a warm bed and good food for so long. Now it’s really hard to buy food safely, if it’s available; there are lots of refugees; Putin makes nuclear threats, scaring everyone; the Western nations wonder what they can do to help brave Ukraine, without making Putin angrier.

I anxiously read today’s Covid 19 report. Today it’s reported that there are 22,527 new community cases, 5 deaths, and 562 people in hospital, 11 of them being in Intensive Care.  Five people have died with the virus, i.e. they died from something else but had been found to be infected with coronavirus. There are 8 new cases of coronavirus at the border. MIQ is all but redundant, at this stage.  It’s reported that the new cases are located as follows: Northland (515), Auckland (13,252), Waikato (1674), Bay of Plenty (1248), Lakes (464), Hawke’s Bay (325), MidCentral (364), Whanganui (79), Taranaki (257), Tairāwhiti (155), Wairarapa (69), Capital and Coast (1,356), Hutt Valley (577), Nelson Marlborough (304), Canterbury (1163), South Canterbury (63), Southern (632), West Coast (16), Unknown (14). It’s thought that perhaps 1/10 people in New Zealand have Covid 19; Prime Minister Ardern says everyone will know someone with Covid 19, if they don’t have it themselves.  We’re all scare, and everything is very quiet.

I get a message from Hohepa saying that one of the people they support now has Covid 19. I am relieved that my daughter now lives away from the Clive site, although of course we don’t know who this person is, or where he lives, only that he doesn’t live at her house.

In Ukraine, a nuclear plant has been attacked by Russian forces and is on fire. I am listening to a Bulwark livestream discussion, (for the second time), which is normally behind a paywall.  This morning I listened to another podcast, We Have Ways of Making You Talk, where the two hosts discuss Stalin and Hitler’s moves in Ukraine (then part of the USSR), during the Second World War. This technical discussion was very interesting, but I’ll have to listen to it again. Meantime, we’re still wrapping up and coming to terms with what’s happened here, and the huge police operation to close down the camp in Parliament grounds and the occupation of the surrounding streets.

It’s really annoying that I can’t read articles on the NZ Herald website. The teasers lure me in, then I find I can’t read them. 

In Ukraine, the tank convoy outside Kyiv had stalled, but perhaps it’s been strengthened now. Russian troops are claiming to have taken Mariupol. It’ s reported that Russian troops having taken Kherson are denying Ukraine access to the sea.  There are huge fears that Putin will use whatever force is necessary to dominate Ukraine; there is dreadful death and destruction, but Kyiv is proving quite difficult to take.  It was reported early this afternoon that a Russian general had been killed by Ukrainian forces, and his invasion plans had been taken by Ukrainians. Putin is still taking about ridding the Ukrainian military of Nazi elements. That is just so offensive. Evidently Russian troops are firing on the nuclear power plant, which is already on fire. This plant is larger than Chernobyl, (it’s the largest in Europe), so its meltdown could be worse. Zelensky wants to talk to Putin, but he wants the killing to stop, and some things are non-negotiable.

The fire at the nuclear power station was later put out.

On that note, I’ll finish for now. Our local war is over; the war in Ukraine rages on. Ngā mihi.

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