WHAT?
NORML White Flag Meeting

WHERE?
NZ Parliament Buildings
Molesworth Street
Wellington 6160
New Zealand

WHEN?
2nd AUGUST, 01:00pm at the Richard Seddon statue.
Assemble in front of Cenotaph at 12:45pm

WHY?
To highlight the Law Commission Report on the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
Also, continue to request compassion, and common sense cannabis law reform – and an Armistice.

HOW?
We carry with us, the international symbol for peaceful dialogue – The White Flag.
We will walk from the Cenotaph at 01:00pm up to the Richard Seddon statue. Once there, we will pause for a One Minute Silence for the victims of the global War on Drugs.
Following that, will be a few words spoken regarding our actions, and our intentions for these meetings, with a reading of the letter, and then a photo or two..

….AND THEN?
Meeting over, we will take advantage of the Speaker’s decision from Armistice Day 2010.
We will stay behind the barriers, we won’t cause any violence, and then we will consume some cannabis.

“Senior Sergeant Scott Miller said police had acted in consultation with the Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, and a decision had been made to monitor the situation and act only if there was violence or an attempt to breach the barricades.” – Dominion Post 11/11/2010

NORML members, and also non-members are all welcome, a desire for sensible law reform is all that is required.

(I admit to having shamelessly stolen this entire post from Gary Chiles.)

Update
Well that went well, and Green MP Metiria Turei managed to squeeze in a quick stop by to discuss things with a few of the NORML crew, in between caucus meetings and the 2pm resumption of Parliament for the next session.

Green MP Metiria Turei speaking with NORML members

Green MP Metiria Turei speaking with NORML members


NORML White Flag rally with monument

NORML White Flag rally with monument

Thanks TV7 for being such organised little bunnies, here’s that episode I was talking about in a post earlier this week.

Star of the show must be Holly Walker, who has acquitted herself very well for her first outing as a nearly-politician, on a panel decimated by winter illnesses, with Chester Burrows holding the Nat’s seat and Clair Curran speaking for Labour.

Click here for the show at TVNZ on-demand.

There’s also a bit of footage of the Cannabus crew and Billy McKee, down for an evening out before Billy’s court appearance today in Levin District Court. And some very good vox pop’s from the table of young-ish Greens who were there to support Holly, insider alert, play spot-the-Bowen-crew bingo.

Update:
And footage on TV3 here from today’s protest at Levin District Court.

I’m re-posting this on behalf of activists from Auckland and Horowhenua regions who are supporting Billy McKee, a medical cannabis user and president of Green Cross NZ, who was arrested recently and is due in Levin District Court on Thursday at 10.00am.

Wednesday 27th – CANNABUS and BACK BENCHES

The Cannabus will be driving down from The Daktory tomorrow, Wednesday, with a small crew of about 8-10 Daktavists. The bus & crew will be staying at Paraparaumu and have booked a table for 07:30pm at the Back Bencher pub for dinner & Back Benches.

The Cannabus will drive into Wellington for dinner & Back Benches before returning to Paraparaumu Wednesday night.

Please make an effort to join us at the pub if you can, we will be waving FREE BILLY MCKEE signs at the cameras at every opportunity.
Wear a NORML, Green Cross, or ALCP shirt if you have one, we should try to be as visible as possible.

Thursday 28th – LEVIN COURT & PARLIAMENT

The Cannabus will be leaving Paraparaumu for Levin Thursday morning at 08:00am from the Coastlands car park, opposite the Paraparaumu railway station.
Any cars driving from Wellington are welcome to join us at Paraparaumu to convoy on to Levin.
We will be protesting outside the court on arrival (approx. 08:40am).
We expect that Billy’s hearing will be only a short formality, so following that – The Cannabus and other vehicles will be driving into Wellington to visit Parliament, to deliver letters for MPs and Ministers and to stage a protest.

Things I’m looking after:
Making printed FREE BILLY MCKEE signs
Printing FREE BILLY MCKEE flyers and petition
Writing letter for my MP, and for Ministers to deliver to Parliament
Housing the Cannabus crew

Things I need somebody/everybody else to look after:
Contact media
Write letter to MP, and to Ministers to deliver to Parliament
Organise for Hutt & Wellington people to get to Paraparaumu/Levin
Print petition and collect signatures
Organise to collect donations for Billy
Help with housing Cannabus crew
Everything else I forgot to mention here…

I have not contacted Parliament Security to tell them we will be visiting, if anyone would like to look after that, let me know, or we just swarm the place unannounced.
Once again, apologies for the short notice, please help if you can, all efforts to help Billy will be very much appreciated.

thanks, Gary Chiles 021 157 3862

Any local Greens who would like to support Billy McKee are welcome to join the dactavists at Back Benches on Wednesday, or in the activities planned for Thursday – get in touch with Gary if you want to liase with their convoy.

Update Wednesday evening:
Back Benches was awesome tonite, and there was a last-minute change to the line-up so Holly Walker had a spot on the panel, as Metiria Turei was unable to be present. So double fun, lots of Green presence, and I will write another post about this tomorrow, and link to the TVNZ on-demand playback, which will go up on their website sometime Thursday.
Billy McKee, the support crew and the Cannabus got a reasonable amount of joshing from Wallace Chapman, and fliers were waved at cameras.

Palestine: the world’s next nation

In four days the UN Security Council will meet, and the world has an opportunity to embrace a new proposal that could turn the tide on decades of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: UN recognition of the state of Palestine.

Over 120 nations from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have already endorsed this initiative, but Israel’s right-wing government and the US vehemently oppose it. Europe is still undecided, but a massive public push now could tip key countries to vote for this momentous opportunity to end the occupation.

US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the
Palestinian people, confiscated their lands and blocked Palestine from becoming a
sovereign political entity. Let’s build a massive global call for key World leaders to endorse this statehood bid now, and make clear that citizens across the world support this legitimate, non-violent, diplomatic proposal.

Sign the petition and send this to everyone: to sign the global call for a Palestinian state at Aavaz click here.

There is also a Palestinian Solidarity Fortnight of events on Victoria University of Wellington Kelburn Campus:

Palestine Solidarity 27th July – 13th August

THURSDAY 28th:
Screening: OCCUPATION 101. A documentary film depicting life in Occupied Palestine under Israeli military rule which dispels many of the long-perceived myths and misconceptions surrounding the Occupation.
http://www.occupation101.com/

5:00pm, SU218, Student Union Building, VUW Kelburn Campus

FRIDAY 29th:
Student Rep Council, with guest speaker JOHN MINTO (Global Peace and Justice Auckland):
motion to affiliate with Birzeit University’s Right to Education campaign as a public show of solidarity and support to all Palestinian students and teachers struggling to live, work and study under Israeli occupation.
(http://right2edu.birzeit.e​du/)
We need 50 people present for quorum so come along and invite invite invite!

2:00-3:00pm, Memorial Theatre Foyer, Student Union Building, VUW Kelburn Campus.

(Separate FB event here: http://www.facebook.com/ev​ent.php?eid=23104275358574​6)

WEDNESDAY 3rd:
Speaker Panel with Dr Nigel Parsons, Senior Lecturer, Massey University
‘Occupation and Resistance’; Spokesperson from Kia Ora Gaza on the latest attempt to break the siege on Gaza; Testimonies from the Occupied Territories.

6:00-8:00pm, Memorial Theatre Foyer, Student Union Building, VUW Kelburn Campus.

SATURDAY 13th:
Palestine Solidarity Gig, featuring a variety of local music and poetry acts including Tommy and the Fallen Horses and the Shadow Blasters.
Hosted in conjunction with Concerned Citizens collective.

13 Garrett St, Te Aro.

Link to Facebook event.

In case you missed it, there was an excellent documentary shown on TV3’s Inside New Zealand show, linked below, discussing the ongoing debate about decriminalisation of cannabis use in New Zealand. Dakta Green, aka Ken Morgan, speaks frankly about his campaigning through NORML and the West Auckland property he has converted from warehousing into The Daktory, a ‘member’s only’ cannabis club.

There is also commentary from lawyers, drug harm reduction researchers and health officials in NZ, UK, and Australia, and a segment from Warren Young of the Law Commission, who have released a report on the Review of the 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act, which recommends changes to the legislation.

http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/Inside-New-Zealand-High-Time/tabid/59/articleID/3498/MCat/342/Default.aspx

I thoroughly recommend anyone to view this, it covers all of the issues very well, in a fair and unbiased way. Incidentally, it includes some footage of Billy McKee taken at his home in Levin, showing the extent of his disability and the way in which he medically uses dried cannabis as an infusion to drink, and a poultice for muscular pain. This was aired just after Billy’s arrest, but produced some weeks ago, as it mentions Dakta Green’s recent conviction, but not Billy’s arrest last week.

I’ve been in a bad mood for a few days now, over what I consider to be a totally unnecessary piece of harrassment that an activist friend of mine is currently enduring. Yes, I’ve ranted before about unjust behaviour from the Police, but this time I am truly on the warpath.

My friend’s name is Billy McKee, he lives in Levin, a small town in the Horowhenua about an hour north of Wellington (depending on where you start, lol, or maybe an hour and a half!). He’s an amputee, on a low income, and suffers a lot of pain. He wears a metal prosthetic leg when he’s out and about, but has a wheelchair around home. He’s come down from the Horowhenua to join in Green events many times, most recently we stood together on Parliament grounds on Budget Day to protest the cuts that were to be announced that afternoon, waving a big Green Party banner on the Seddon memorial in the front of the steps.

He’s also the President of an organisation called Greencross NZ, a local branch of the international Green Cross organisation. He lobbies, with other members, to gain legislation to allow medpot, a form of cannabis which is legal, available on prescription, and pharmaceutically prepared in dose limited quantities. This is available to medical cannabis users overseas, and is a compassionate and side-effect free way of managing pain and nausea for many terminal conditions, as well as for chronic pain conditions suffered by many who have had back injuries or head injuries.

Billy was arrested by Police from the Horowhenua CIB last Friday, 8th July, and was taken into custody in his wheelchair. He has been trying to arrange legal aid so that he can be bailed, but in the meantime has had his computer taken by the Police, and earlier today they asked the webhoster to shut down the Green Cross website.

There are concerned members of Green Cross all over the country, along with NORML members and Green members from Horowhenua and elsewhere, trying to find out what state Billy is in, whether his medical needs are being met, and trying to understand why arresting a pensioner with disabilities is the best the CIB can do with their resources.

Here’s a clip about medical cannabis (featuring Billy speaking):

And here’s where you can read current Green policy on medical cannabis on the Green’s website.

This arrest of a man who is solely concerned with harm reduction and compassionate use of medical marijuana is sufficient to make me feel very annoyed with the next Police force member I come in contact with.
It’s been an ongoing joke amongst my activist friends that I need restraint to stop me from kicking a policeman. This time I may just get around to doing that.
I’m sure they won’t mind manhandling a nearly-pensionable disabled lady, either, as they arrest me. I’ve seen them assault people before and then charge the assaulted protester with assaulting a policeman, so my opinion of those who police political activists is pretty low.

UPDATE:
Billy has commented on the thread at g.blog that he has made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority. They are contactable at 0800 503 728.

Another supporter on a different website has posted information which may be used to tell the Police how much you think this arrest stinks, so I’m going to quote it verbatim:

Here are the contact details of the officer in charge of Billy’s home invasion. If anyone would like to share some feedback with him

Sarn Paroli
Detective Sergeant
O/C Horowhenua CIB
DDI: 06 366 0522
Internal: 65422
Cell Phone: 027 276 4341

Email: Sarn.Paroli@police.govt.nz

Some people aren’t comfortable with direct complaint to the Police.

There’s also the option of complaining to the Minister of Police or the Minister of Justice. That’s a freepost letter to ‘The Hon (MP name), Parliament Buildings, Wellington’, or you can e-mail them – all addresses are held on the http://www.parliament.nz website. Current MP’s details are here.

Or you can contact your local MP and say that as a constituent, you think this behaviour by our law enforcement officers stinks.

Should have put these up before too – here’s some links to websites supporting the introduction of medpot –

http://www.greencross.org.nz
http://www.alcp.org.nz
http://www.thedaktory.org.nz
http://www.norml.org.nz
http://www.truthaboutcannabis.org

[copy & paste, I haven’t hyperlinked these ones, unless wordpress goes all automagic on me …]

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