“Short term, it was great for them, but long term the intensity got to them, especially Kyle.�

Fight dem back! Aotearoa campaign manager Robert Trigan talks to the Christchurch daily The Press:

Website target of hate emails

Mike Houlahan

Political activist Robert Trigan does not mind talking to the media, but is not keen on having his photo taken.

“They don’t know what I look like and I want to keep it that way,� he says.
Trigan is not suffering from paranoia. “They� are members of far-Right political orgamsations, and Trigan is a New Zealand spokesman for Fight Dem Back, a trans-Tasman group waging a campaign against racial hatred, xenophobia and fascism.

Trigan’s fears seem to have some grounds. The Fight Dem Back website contains emails from neo-Nazis threatening its members, and the website of the New Zealand National Socialist Party — under the headline “Know Your Enemy� — has a photo of Fight Dem Back’s founder, Sydney-based activist Matt Henderson, as well as Trigan’s cellphone number and email address.

Trigan is described as “one nasty piece of work�.

“I know one of our Wellington members has been threatened a number of times by various people,� Trigan said.

“I’ve been very careful not to let them know where I live because I do consider it quite dangerous. It’s sad that it has come to that stage but that’s where it is, unfortunately. These people are not nice people. They don’t want to do nice things, and they certainly don’t have sympathy for me.�

Trigan, who met Henderson while studying in Sydney, became involved in the anti-fascist movement after the Christchurch-based National Front started exploring linking up with Australian groups with similar views. Initially, Trigan expected groups such as the Front to be small and extreme, and was dismayed to find their numbers ran into hundreds.
“If they’d remained as far-Right activism had been in New Zealand most of its life, just a couple of people shouting out on a street corner, then
we wouldn’t have had to be responding,� Trigan said.

“We’ve been very careful not to let them know where I live because I do consider it quite dangerous.â€? – Robert Trigan

“The more organised and the more e active they get, it definitely needs a response … I didn’t think there would be more than a dozen people~ nationally, but there are quite a number. I expected it be a lot of young kids, 20 or younger, but there’s quite a lot of older people too.â€?

Far-Right parties have existed in New Zealand since the late 1960s, but with many of the same personalities involved, Trigan said. While names of groups and the level of activity changes, many of the people remain, the same.

One new dimension for the far Right was the internet, which Trigan said was extensively used by groups such as the National Front to recruit and organise demonstrations. Two high-profile internet-organised rallies by the National Front last year, at Christchurch’s anti-racism march and, a similar demonstration in Wellington, had helped boost the organisation’s numbers, Trigan said.

“Short term, it was great for them, but long term the intensity has got to them, and especially Kyle,� Trigan said, referring to recently resigned National Front leader Kyle Chapman.

“The consistency of stories about them in the media and the dodgy things they have done got to them and made them realise they are never going to get any public sympathy.�

That did not mean Fight Dem Back could rest on its laurels, Trigan said.
“(Far-Right) activity does ebb and flow, but it’s always there. We’ll be more active in the next few months looking at the new organisations that have been set up, who had moved where, and how far it’s likely to go.�

News brief · 14 June 2005