EXCLUSIVE: Josie Butler tells all about dildo attack

avatr Joe Trinder

Josie Butler
Can you explain the reason for you throwing the dildo at Steven Joyce?

I’m a nurse and I’m very concerned about the effects of the TPP on my patients. I believe, and I am not alone, that the TPP will have profoundly negative effects on New Zealand, socially, culturally and economically. I care deeply about my country and it’s people, and I want NZers to know that we can still avoid this outcome. This agreement has not been ratified yet.
Balanced debate on the issue has been continually shut down by the government. I think it is a shame that it takes a hard-working nurse throwing a dildo at a politician to open up this debate.

What was the specific purpose for using a dildo, what was it to symbolise?

I believe the metaphor is well documented now on social media, and it is not necessary to stir the pot.

How did the opportunity come about? Did you follow Joyce or the media etc?

In any campaign where protest has become inevitable, you have to grab your moments.

When did you decide you wanted to do this, and did you act alone or with others?

I’ve been campaigning against the TPP for two years. We have been taking part in the democratic process, we’ve been to the City Council, we’ve educated people, we’ve organised numerous peaceful protests. The TPP is not good for NZ, and I will not give up working towards a healthier NZ, a stronger NZ, a fairer NZ.

You say you were not charged. did you receive a pre-charge police warning? And can you explain how the police dealt with it?

The police dealt with me professionally, as is their duty, and I was dealt with accordingly under the law. No formal charges were laid.

Are you happy with the way police dealt with it, and the way you were treated?

They were doing their job, and I have no complaints at all about them.

Anti-TPPA trade agreement protesters at Waitangi say they were against the dildo-throwing incident and you had since apologised to them. Is the the case, and, if so, why did you apologise? At the end of the day I put myself on the line to stand up for patient rights, and the vast majority of people (including kaumatua) I spoke to at Waitangi highly respected that. I have been invited back next year, and plan to attend.

PM John Key condemned your actions, saying: “It’s appalling because that image has gone around the world and now there’s people in countries all over the world who are saying that the way New Zealanders commemorate or celebrate their national day is with a senior politician having a sex toy thrown at them.” – What is your response to this? That’s rich coming from a man who cuts funding from domestic and sexual violence services, pulls ponytails, and engages in rape jokes. I’m appalled that our taxes paid for the Prime Minister to watch sports and talk about a sex toy on our National Day instead of doing his job and representing the Crown at Waitangi. 

Can you describe what the fallout has been like since this? (Good,bad, supportive, ugly, and examples) The overwhelming support and Aroha from around the world has been amazing. Now that the world is having the conversation about the TPPA maybe we can all do something about it.

Did you expect it to gain this much attention? The aim was to gain awareness about the atrocity that is the TPPA
Would you do it again? I will continue to proudly stand up for my country and it’s beautiful people.
When you said “that’s for raping our sovereignty”, can you elaborate on it?

The TPPA is the rape of our tino rangitiratanga, the torture our basic human rights, and the murder of our people. We already have over 300,000 children living below the poverty line, I don’t want to live in a country where families have to choose between potentially life saving medication or feeding their children because of the increased price of medications under the TPPA.

Can you detail how you got into being anti-TTPA, and what active work you’ve done around this?

I got involved through the Nurses Union. I heard the grave concerns from the medical professionals around me about the TPPA and became aware of what was at stake. Those concerns haven’t disappeared now the text is out. I’ve been active in the campaign for two years, and have organised numerous peaceful protests and actions throughout Christchurch, and have spent countless hours campaigning against this. The TPPA is not primarily a trade agreement, it is a mechanism whereby global corporations can override the sovereignty and lawful decisions of nation states.