I probably disagree with John Minto about as much as I agree with him in terms of the various statements he makes. I know that he irritates some New Zealanders, but he is someone who stands up staunchly for what he believes, and has played a real part in raising issues that are important to New Zealand and New Zealanders.
If it is true as reported on Stuff that the police are seeking an order to destroy the megaphone he used as part of his protest at the tennis in Auckland last week, then this is shocking. We have to defend the right to protest in this country. I have been on both sides of the fence when it comes to protests and they are a critical part of a functioning democracy. Even if people felt the protest in Auckland was particularly irritating, that is the price of democracy. As it happens the player concerned was able to cope, and made it as far in the tournament as her ability allowed.
The Police have the ability to take action against unlawful protest, and that will work its way through the Courts. But trying to seize a megaphone is a terrible gesture, symbolic as it may be, for the principles of our democracy. This is a time for people including those who fundamentally disagree with John to make clear that this is not the kind of thing we want to see in our country.