“Police were too kind to the cycle protestors” is misdirection at its finest.

Image from TVNZ broadcast.

Tonight One News ran a story about the protest across the harbor bridge, and how the police treated us kindly, with only one arrest. They argued that the police were too kind to us. That if it had been a group of people of Māori or Pasfika people from South Auckland, it would have been different (ie. more police violence).

Prominent and well-respected South Auckland community leaders gave comment on the news. It was not mentioned that Efeso Collins, the main voice on this issue, also supported our Liberate the Lane protest.

I don’t disagree that there is racial inequity when the police deal with Pakeha people vs. people of color. In fact, I completely agree. But where was the media when this commentary really mattered? Why weren’t they on the side of the protestors getting harmed at Ihumaatao? The spin on this stinks of convenience, not sincerity.

You see, you can’t say anything bad against people doing things to prevent climate change these days. A lot of wonderful and strong willed young people stood up and said it was time to pay attention. We’ve accepted there’s a climate crisis. You can avoid the issue of talking about how problematic and unsustainable single occupancy car travel is if you change the subject.

That’s why the ‘police were too easy on the white, middle-class protestors’ is misdirection at its finest.

Heather Du-Plessis Allan said “If those people weren’t urban middle class cyclists from some of the wealthiest suburbs in Auckland we wouldn’t be as relaxed about what happened yesterday.” Interesting whataboutism from someone in the urban middle class themselves. So ready to virtual signal for the sake of taking down cycle culture. Even the upper middle class — given the combined salary of a media broadcaster power couple which could be in the range of 5 million plus.

Yet, at the protest, there was hardly a set of lycra in sight. The people who flooded onto the harbor bridge came in all shapes and sizes, with children and dogs. Let alone the fact that the organisers of the rally, Bike Auckland, is a women-led organisation. The rally was also backed by groups of other wonderful, diverse organisations such as Generation Zero and Women in Urbanism. All of us working towards a more equitable, sustainable, inclusive future for all. It’s a travesty that the cycling protest was pinned on the selection of white, male, middle class meatheads we had wrestling the gate blocking the harbor bridge.

Making it seem like the “middle class cycling horde” are at odds with equity for Māori and Pasfika people in Auckland is also completely incorrect. Cycling is the most accessible and sustainable form of transport around, and therefore a great way to bring mobility (and therefore power) to marginalised communities. It has had leaps of success in South Auckland with the support of community groups like Triple Teez. Mobility justice is a wonderful thing, as it helps people get access to healthy and accessible modes of transport.

It suits people who seek to maintain the status quo to pin cyclists down as people who are out for recreational sport rides in strange clothes. Rather than people who are going to work and school or to the shops, parents, children, friends. We become dehumanised, and thus undeserving of any protection. It’s no wonder Auckland tops the charts for cycling casualties.

So shame on you, media. Shame for your biased reporting, for making us less than human, for covering up the very real focus of the climate crisis and unsustainable, unscalable transport in Auckland. Do better.

Cyclist; maker; non-binary pal. Runs on VB fumes and pizza.

Cyclist; maker; non-binary pal. Runs on VB fumes and pizza.