His life is brilliant, his love is pure, and now singer-songwriter James Blunt is being utilised by New Zealand’s police force. Why? To repel and disperse protesters of course. The demonstrators, who are protesting the NZ government’s introduction of Covid-19 mandates, have been camped outside parliament, blocking the street’s of Wellington, since Tuesday (February 8th) according to a BBC report.
So far, all tactics to disperse the protesters have failed. The local authorities tried to get rid of them by switching on the water sprinkler system on the long-occupied lawn. Unfortunately, the protesters simply dug trenches and started building drainpipes to re-route the water.
The police’s next tactic was to start pumping out a selection of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits, including ‘Mandy’ and’ Could It Be Magic’. These, as well as the immortal ’90s hit ‘Macarena’ and a number of vaccine messages were played on a 15-minute loop from a loudspeaker.
After learning of the New Zealand police forces attempts to break up the protest via the power of god-awful music, James Blunt took to Twitter to offer his services, writing: “Give me a shout if this doesn’t work @NZPolice”.
Within a few hours, the famously self-deprecating singer’s offer had been accepted. Soon enough, his 2005 hit ‘You’re Beautiful’ was being pumped out of the loudspeaker. Despite the presence of Blunters’ syrupy melodies, the protesters held on to their resolve, responding to the track by singing the likes of Twisted Sisters ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ while being soaked by the sprinkler system.
So why are they protesting? Well, the demonstrators are dissatisfied with Jacinda Ardern’s government, which has introduced a series of strict Covid-19 measures throughout the pandemic. Lockdowns and an international border closure were enforced early on to keep infection rates and death toll numbers as low as possible. While the nation has seen relatively low infection rates, restrictions, such as the minimum ten-day isolation period and new vaccine mandate have led to anger and resentment in the community.