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Toots for Air New Zealand Protest

The intersection of Albert and Customs Streets in Auckland was filled with a cacophony of car, bus and truck horns at lunchtime today. Protesters outside Air New Zealand’s main office held signs which read: “If you are male and not a paedophile — toot!”

On the opposite corner, Jim Bailey sat on the top of his War-4-Kids Wagon, asking (rather loudly through his speaker system) why Air New Zealand wants to stop children having contact with men.

Bryan Norton attempted to deliver a letter of protest addressed to Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe, but the airline didn’t want to know. The staff member who initially came to make sure Bryan left the building said he would take it but refused to identify himself. Eventually he agreed to send someone down to receive it within 10 minutes, however nobody came.

After about 20 minutes, Brian went back to reception, this time followed by two video cameras, and it was agreed he could leave his letter with the receptionist.

About 15 minutes after all the other protesters had gone home, Murray Bacon and I were still talking on the steps outside the building when a lone policeman arrived. Spotting a placard left leaning against the wall behind me he came over and asked if we were the “surging throng of protesters” he’d been sent to settle down.

“Oh you’ve brought us a beer then have you?” asked Murray hopefully, but the policeman just grinned and replied “not till after work.”

The New Zealand Herald supports the airline policy. In an editorial entitled Airlines protecting children they demonstrate that they understand the principles involved, and that the actual risk to any child is negligible:

That they should not be deeming all males untrustworthy because of a worst-case scenario. And that such a scenario is highly unlikely, given the crowded nature of most airliners and the watchfulness of airline staff.

But then they switch into sex abuse hysteria mode:

people who prey on children are masters of cunning and trickery… It could be an opportunity for contact to be made which might lead to “grooming” of a child…one in five English children had been the subject of unwanted sexual advances outside the home.

Anything goes in the name of ‘protecting children’ according to the Herald:

as in all matters bearing on such abuse, society must make the protection of children its paramount concern.

When major newspapers join the lynch mob like this, and fail in their responsibility to uphold human rights, the foundations of our society are undermined, and everybody becomes less safe.