Mainstream coverage of the occupation of parliament grounds

Mainstream coverage of the occupation of parliament grounds

Here is some relatively-neutral (compared with before) reporting from the Dominion Post. They continue to emphasise the inconvenience to businesses and commuters while ignoring the “inconvenience” faced over the last 2 years – the exact reason the protesters are there.
It has been raining since yesterday but that has not dampened the spirit of the protesters despite the Speaker of Parliament, Trevor Mallard turning on the sprinklers on the lawn where the tents are to try and break the spirit of the occupiers.
There has been somewhat of a festive atmosphere down at parliament, with music and dancing
Unfortunately a strong weather system, with strong gale-force winds, are coming through.
The police are relying on the weather driving people out but they may be underestimating the grit and determination of people. 
I have concern for people in tents, especially family with children.
However, we shall see.
This is my version of “what you need to know”
  • A convoy has arrived from the north and the numbers at the occupation have grown greatly despite the weather; The sociopathic Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard ordered sprinklers to be turned when the rain started;
  • Some woman who were arrested on Thursday were released; others (all nurses and midwives) refused to sign bail documents and have been kept in custody;
  • The police were seemingly prepared to go in with batons but were stood down;
  • A kitchen, first aid area and toilets established at protest; Nobody has tried to enter the parliament buildings and protesters have shown respect for the place with the exception of a few infiltrators and agents provocateurs who may have been there on behalf of the police and politicians.

Live: Parliament grounds, surrounding streets fill up with protesters as wet weather rolls in

 

What you need to know / Kia mōhio mai koe:

 

Stuff.co.nz,

11 February, 2022

 

* It’s Saturday and day five of protesters camping out on Parliament grounds.

* Protesters dug trenches overnight to combat Parliament’s sprinklers being left on.

* All protesters on the grounds have been trespassed and told to move on or face being arrested.

* Wellington businesses and workers have been disrupted by the protest.

* Police arrested 122 protesters on Thursday. There were no arrests on Friday.

* Thousands of protesters in convoy began travelling on Monday, and arrived at Parliament on Tuesday. Although the majority have since left, some protesters have stayed and set up camp.

* They’re protesting Covid-19 mandates, the Bill of Rights, and censorship. Some people also appear to be protesting about the three waters reform and 1080.

Weekend sees protester numbers rise again
The crowds have swelled overnight with over a thousand people outside Parliament on Saturday. Hundreds of tents, improvised shelters, campervans and other vehicles have sprung up on the lawns and on the surrounding streets. Many are sheltering wherever they can from the light rain, however, a haka from the Voices for Freedom group brought hundreds out in front of the Parliament buildings.
– Reporting by Matthew Tso
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson slams protesters, thanks Aotearoa for achieving 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine
Robertson, who is also MP for Wellington Central, said while he supported the right to protest as an important part of democracy, the anti-social behaviours shown by protesters was causing distress to his constituents.
“The protest we have seen at Parliament this week is driven by wild, false, dangerous conspiracy theories and people with an extreme agenda.  Even then the people involved have a right to be there. But when they threaten, harrass and disrupt people and a whole city they lose that right.  They have been trespassed, they need to leave.”
Read Robertson’s full statement below.
Musician Tiki Taane has shared support for the protesters across his social media.
It’s worth mentioning that Taane, alongside more than 20 other musicians including Stan Walker and Holly Smith, released a song in 2020 called ‘Stay’, to encourage Kiwis to stay at home during the country’s first alert level 4 lockdown that year.
Instagram screenshot
Motorcyclists briefly blocked a section of Lambton Quay outside Parliament. They were quickly moved on to Molesworth St by protesters so as not to hold up traffic. One rider did a burnout, which was met with cheers from the crowd gathered to greet them.
– Reporting by Matthew Tso

A motorcyclist performs a burnout, much to the delight of protesters. Video: Matthew Tso/Stuff

Parliament staff on forklifts are putting concrete barricades behind the existing metal and plastic barriers. Each time a concrete barrier is dropped off, protesters heckle the staffer driving the forklift.
– Reporting by Thomas Manch
Photo: Thomas Manch/Stuff
‘Serious’ widespread gales and rain set to batter North Island
The miserable weather in Wellington isn’t going away any time soon, with Cyclone Dovi expected to bring strong winds.
The storm’s effects are still uncertain due to Dovi directly moving into the North Island and entirely changing structure over Sunday/Monday – but this is shaping up to be a serious event for New Zealand, in particular the North Island and very upper South Island, Weatherwatch lead forecaster Philip Duncan said.
The strong winds will circle the entire North Island with Dovi’s centre likely to make landfall somewhere around Waitomo.
Wellington will see southerlies gradually rise to gale force with gusts to 100km/h on Sunday (with rain tapering off slowly), and it is expected the region will experience 80mm of rain today, would could lead to slips and flooding.
Relaxed atmosphere during occupation’s fourth night
There wouldn’t have been much sleep for the protesters last night. When Stuff visited at midnight, a group of protesters were “holding the frontline” facing police behind the barricades. But the atmosphere was relaxed.
Settling in for a long night, police and protesters chatted across the fences. The rain wasn’t heavy, although the ground was already well sodden. Other protesters chatted on the steps overlooking the war memorial, and a few looked to be making their way to and back from town.
– Reporting by Glenn McConnell
Photo: Glenn McConnell/Stuff
Sprinklers still running
The sprinklers turned on at the direction of Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard are still on, however the sprinkler heads have been covered and water is being diverted down ditches dug by the protesters.
– Reporting Matthew Tso
A little girl plays in the water from the sprinklers. Matthew Tso/Stuff

Trenches have been made to redirect the water from the muddy, wet grass. Video: Matthew Tso/Stuff

Kitchen, first aid area and toilets established at protest
The services being established for protesters indicate the crowd is in this for the long haul.
A kitchen was set up on Molseworth St when the convoy arrived on Tuesday and has been feeding people ever since. Portaloo toilets are being emptied twice a day by Hirepool, and a medical bay has been set up within Parliament grounds.
– Reporting Matthew Tso
Some of the protesters appear to be playing a game of cricket. People nearby can also be seen huddled under umbrellas.

Real estate on the lawn outside Parliament is at a premium as more people have turned up to join the protest. Matthew Tso/Stuff

More protesters flood into central Wellington
Protesters pack into the Parliament grounds as more people have turned up to join the demonstration. Matthew Tso/Stuff
Real estate on the lawn outside Parliament is now at a premium as more people have turned up to join the protest.
Tents, gazebos and tarpaulins now make up most of the space beyond the forecourt.
On the surrounding streets, cars, utes, buses, trucks and campers of all descriptions occupy carparks, roads, median strips and footpaths around the parliamentary precinct.
– Reporting Matthew Tso 
Early morning traffic jams around Parliament
Many of the streets around Parliament are jammed with vehicles as anti-mandate protesters begin day five. Thomas Manch/Stuff
The streets around Parliament have filled up considerably overnight, with Bunny St and Victoria University Law School’s car park now jammed with vehicles. 
Cars line the footpath at the central bus terminal, others have parked on the median strip outside the train station, while the side streets off Molesworth St are lined or entirely clogged with vehicles.
People are camped out on whatever free ground is available. However, the protestors have allowed enough room for buses to pass through, allowing public transport to keep running.
– Reporting Thomas Manch
A protester walks over what they have dubbed Mallard Bridge on the grounds of Parliament on Saturday. Kevin Stent/Stuff
Muddy scenes at the anti-mandate protests. Kevin Stent/Stuff
A protester takes a morning wash on the grounds of Parliament. Kevin Stent/Stuff
Mōrena everyone, a live stream of the protest has been added to the top of the blog. If you can’t see it, you may need to refresh the page.

Water is being diverted off the sprinkler lines at Parliament onto Molesworth St. Matthew Tso/Stuff

Sodden, muddy morning for Parliament protesters 
It’s a sodden, muddy morning for parliament protesters on Saturday. Matt Tso/Stuff
Light breaking over the protesters’ camp on Saturday morning has revealed much of Parliament lawn is turning to mud. Sprinklers and rain have left large tracts of the campsite sodden. There is evidence that protestors began digging up the sprinkler lines with small trenches running up and down the turf. Some have had flexible plastic pipes redirecting water out onto the street and into gutters.
Read more from journalist Matthew Tso here
– Reporting by Matthew Tso
Weather may clear protest
Political Editor Luke Malpass has shared his take on day four of the protests outside parliament:
“With the protests in Wellington dragging on, it appears that police are, to use a cricketing analogy, playing for rain.
“After what can best be described as an abortive attempt to clear out the trespassing protesters on the front lawns of Parliament on Thursday, Police ever coy about operational matters, have pulled back.
“Reduced numbered and seemingly content with letting the protesters have a bit of a party, while waiting for what looks like a weather bomb to hit the capital.”
Read more here:
Speaker Trevor Mallard has ordered the sprinklers to stay on. (file photo)
Parliament’s sprinklers will remain on overnight
“No one who is here is here legally, and if they’re getting wet from below as well as above, they’re likely to be a little bit less comfortable and more likely to go home.
“Some people have suggested we add the vaccine in the water, but I don’t think it works that way.”
The protesters have placed cones above the sprinklers, but the system has continued to saturate the ground.
Rain is forecast to become heavier and more persistent overnight, says Metservice.
Surface flooding is also possible. There is an orange heavy rain warning in place for Wellington from Friday 8pm until Sunday 3pm.
– Reporting by Thomas Manch

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has received several hundred complaints from anti-vaccine mandate protesters at Parliament.

Protesters have been sharing footage online and printing out photographs of what they argue constitutes police misconduct.
Wellington district commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell commented, “I think if you’ve watched any of the footage … which I have intently, and our people have acted proportionately, fairly and very professionally.”

Read more from our reporting team here:

There appears to have been some to-and-fro with one of the main gates at Parliament.
The gates, which have been shut most of the day, were opened by the protestors, then locked by police, then opened again.
– Reporting by Thomas Manch
If you’re due for a boost, Emma Clark-Dow has profiled some vaccination events where Kiwis can get their third Covid-19 vaccine shot this weekend.

Former National MP Matt King coming to protest

Former Northland MP Matt King, who lost his seat in 2020, is on his way to Wellington to join the protest.

King has posted several messages in support the protest online, and has said the vaccine is dangerous in months prior.

A spokesperson for the National Party said Matt King was no longer an MP for the National Party.

“National is strongly pro-vaccination and does not support the actions or the anti-vaccination messages of those involved in Convoy 2022.”
“Everyone has a right to protest, but people shouldn’t be getting aggressive and violent, breaking rules, or impinging on the freedoms of others. “

A range of motivations and the spread of misinformation among the anti-vaccine mandate protesters at Parliament are hampering police efforts to establish meaningful lines of communication with the occupation.

Read more from our reporting team here:

John Farnham’s hit ‘The Voice’ rings out around the grounds, and not for first time – it seems to be a favourite.
  • We’re in the middle of a relatively prolonged period of calm here at Parliament now. Photo / Jericho Rock-Archer
    Superintendent Corrie Parnell on the protesters’ use of videos and children:
    “Police are concerned that people are encouraging children be brought to the protest site to support their efforts.
    “It is important to note that Police on Parliament grounds continue to take a measured approach.
    “Images and videos shared online often do not provide the full context of the protest activity and the difficult situation Police staff face.”

    Batons removed from cops:

    Superintendent Corrie Parnell, Wellington District Commander, had this to say on the issue:

    “Earlier today several staff were noted to be carrying batons – that was not in line with current approach and staff have now removed this equipment.

    “Police continue to explore options to resolve the disruption to local businesses and allow free and safe movement around the city.”

    • Credit: Jericho Rock-Archer
      Credit: Jericho Rock-Archer
    • Credit: Jericho Rock-Archer
      Protesters are practicing resistance circles on Parliament grounds. Credit: Jericho Rock-Archer.
      There’s a decent crowd on Parliament grounds currently. Credit: Jericho Rock-Archer

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