Fair enough?

Hilary's latest blog is a response to the protest at New Zealand's Parliament grounds in our capital, Wellington. The clue to her response is in the title: Collective strength and collective action is what makes us civilised


I'm also responding to that event. A clue to my response: I hope it is over by the time you read this.


My hope for the protest to end is grounded in the threat it presents to my need for fairness. While Hilary went to politics, I went to the SCARF model of social needs.


SCARF stands for the need for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. It's a model I use often at work, and it has helped me think about my responses as the protest continues to impact my daily life.




I don't see the protestors as an homogenous group, nor am I confident to speculate on their motivations. But it seems safe to say many of them are experiencing threats to their needs for fairness. Their decision not have the vaccine, or to object to vaccine passes and other pandemic control responses, means they do not feel they are being treated fairly. They feel they have unfairly lost income, jobs, and opportunities.


The protestors response to the threat to their need for fairness has been to reward their needs for autonomy and relatedness. Being part of the protest simultaneously allows people to claim autonomy as a free thinkers and to become part of a something. An un-named police officer told Stuff

They aren’t here for the purpose of this protest, a lot are here because they need to feel like they are part of something.

For leaders amongst the protest group, there're also rewards to the need for status. The on-site microphones and media channels are good for building up status of those who are featured. The emergence of a media and security teams recognises status for others.


So what's my problem? My need for fairness is threatened by seeing people who have benefited from our collective response actively threatening, discomforting, and inconveniencing others. My compliance with the Government's pandemic response rewarded my needs for certainty and relatedness. I trusted the decision making that informed the plan and felt connection to the team of five-million. Yes, my compliance came at the cost of some autonomy, but it worked. Together, we have minimised the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. Writing this blog is arguably an attempt to reward my own need for status as a thinker, but I'm not sure how much it's helping.


What I really want is to be able to catch the bus to and from work on the normal route, to be able to take a short-cut through Parliament grounds on the way to meetings, and be confident human waste isn't being fed into the harbour. Fair enough?