As someone who spent some years working in restaurants, I laughed when I read a recent article about how bad New Zealanders are when it comes to complaining about the quality of food in a restaurant. The article talked about how people would whinge in private, complain to their mates, or not go back to the restaurant, but rarely did they have the guts to go to the restaurant and explain what they didn’t like. It’s so true. It was true back in the 70’s and is still true today. Those who do complain are mostly business people who have learned to speak their mind, or overseas people who understand the importance of standing up for themselves. Only a few kiwis have learned that it is right to complain.
It’s no surprise to me in my many years of activism, that the percentage of recent immigrants in the protest movement is disproportionally higher than it should be, if most New Zealand born residents were prepared to stand up for themselves. Why? Because the immigrants come from cultures where standing up for yourself, speaking out, and being different isn’t a social crime.
In general, New Zealanders seek anonymity amongst numbers, and do something when everyone else they know will do it as well – or when it’s the “in” thing, like anti-mining or global warming. Ask New Zealanders to stand up when it might mean they are more personally isolated, and that’s a whole other ball-game.
And that’s one of several problems which might affect our “right to choice” with regard to vaccination.
How many parents who say they are concerned about the right to choose to vaccinate, put in submissions to the Immunization Health Select Committee earlier this year? In contrast to the parents out there who say they are concerned… Count two hands and two feet.
Contrast that with thousands of submissions trying to prevent the possibility of mining in doc land!
What would it take to get people who say they are concerned about protecting their rights to their own body and their children's bodies, to protect those rights?
Will people only do something, if the Government threatens to make vaccinations compulsory?
The wise value what they have, before it's lost. The prudent protect what rights they have, while they have them.