After the huge protest against asset sales in Auckland the week before, on Friday the Aotearoa is Not for Sale hikoi arrived in the capital to mark the end of the march from Northland. But this looks to be the beginning of a much longer and broader campaign to oppose the National Government's plans to partially privatise some of the country's most prized assets.
I joined the march as it was making its way from Te Papa down to the steps of Parliament - the energy and noise drawing me in to the heart of the protest. It was a well-organised, colourful and lively affair, with one clear message echoing along the narrow canyon of office buildings on Lambton Quay - that Aotearoa is not for sale.
The chants of the six thousand or so that had given up their lunchtime were in charismatic and concerted mood, with each of those who I spoke to - young and old - articulating their concern over John Key's short-sighted and deeply unpopular move to sell of our well performing, resilient publicly owned assets. "The economic case doesn't stack up", "privatisation will inevitably lead to higher fuel bills", "we'll lose control over the direction the companies take and the assets we've built up over generations". All of them legitimate, well reasoned and sound points.
As were the messages from the cross party support for the Hikoi - each delivered with incisive aplomb and a commitment to challenge the Government every step of the way. They emphasised that Government is there to manage our country, not own it and therefore has no right to sell it. New Zealand belongs to each and every one of us and as stewards we must ensure that we respect the efforts of our fore bearers just as we protect our assets for the future.
I was there because like everyone there, I too have deep reservations about this move which could seriously undermine our ability to build a more sustainable economy. Some of these companies on their way to the auction block are our renewable energy power-base - the incubators and developers of world class renewable know-how - and one of the best opportunities we have to be an exporter of this expertise. They are also vital in safeguarding a more energy secure future for New Zealand, so it is vital that New Zealanders have full control over the decisions made about the energy mix and future that we have.
If you too oppose the sale of the countries state owned assets then sign the Citizens Initiated Referendum and send a clear message to the Government.
The hikoi has reached its destination but the movement is gathering momentum.
A protest is organised for this morning and it looks to be the first of many. This is not something the people of NZ will take lying down.