Police have confirmed that the anti-government protest led by Freedom & Rights Coalition founder and leader Bishop Brian Tamaki this morning has dispersed from Parliament grounds.
Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell says she was pleased with how people conducted themselves and was proud of her police staff.
No trespass orders were given out and no arrests were made, and the counter-protest by Pōneke Anti-Fascism Coalition at the Wellington Cenotaph also dispersed without incident earlier this afternoon.
Road closures will be lifted at 6pm tonight but Police will maintain a visible presence around the grounds.
This morning Tamaki led about 1500 supporters on an anti-government protest outside Parliament; the last big protest event of such scale happened back in February this year.
People gathered outside Parliament grounds at midday today to hold a mock court trial. Their march began this morning from Civic Square.
Tamaki leads his followers to Parliament.
It’s the same site by Parliament where a 23-day occupation by people opposing vaccine mandates in February ended in violence and fires.
Protestors carried tino rangatiratanga and New Zealand flags, with many signs carrying messages, one saying ‘The Beehive Bullies Must Go’.
Police are evident at the protests with roads blocked, concrete bollards in place and temporary fencing around the Beehive perimeter that were put up early on in the week.
Meanwhile, an estimated 500 counter-protestors met at the Wellington Cenotaph, led by the Pōneke Anti-Fascist Coalition.
Signs from the protestors mirror the ones from the February occupation.
Its protest, titled ‘Love Community: Hate Fascism’, aimed to be peaceful and non-confrontational but standing up against “hateful rhetoric” in the capital, organiser Laura Drew said in a statement.
A video on Twitter shows former Labour MP Georgina Beyer speaking in front of the cenotaph to the group of counter-protestors, with some choice words for Tamaki.
"Your presence here today, to let them know that we are going to keep an eye on you 'mate', you and your ragtag bunch of hangers-on are nothing but wa***rs.
"I have faith in the New Zealand public that we will give you the thumbs down and won't make it."
'Enough is enough'
Taking to the stage in front of the protestors, Brian Tamaki said: “Isn’t it amazing, ironic, that we’re standing here 18 years later and are having to say the same three words – enough is enough.
“This is not the nation I grew up in. This is not the New Zealand I remember where we had our freedoms, where we had our individual rights, where we weren’t restricted, controlled, intruded upon and interfered with, least of all by the government – and yet it’s happened.”
He also called out politicians not as representatives of Parliament but as “representatives for the people”.
'Down the gurgler'
Tamaki said that Labour hasn’t supported the country and called out Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for not being the prime minister for all Kiwis.
“'I will be the Prime Minister for all.’ Jacinda [Ardern], you said all Kiwis. You would be the prime minister for us as well.
“We’re not extremists, I’m not an extremist. The evidence of my fruit and the work that I’ve done in this country speaks for itself.
“I’ve seen my country go down the gurgler.”
He then challenged Ardern and Police Minister Chris Hipkins to “show face” in front of the protest, and called the Opposition “weak” and lame”. “We don’t want any more career politicians running our country.”
He also revealed that he’s established an umbrella party, Freedoms of New Zealand, soon to be registered with the Electoral Commission. Of the three parties under the umbrella, Brian said one party is in London, and the other two had signed a memorandum of understanding. The names of the three parties are Vision NZ, Outdoors and Freedom Party and The New Nation Party.
Tamaki said he wouldn’t be running.
Brian Tamaki speaks to the protestors.
Court in session
Before 1pm today, the mock court trial took place on stage with judge Justice Selby, as he called himself, beginning the trial.
“This is a criminal case under the structure of the International Criminal Court. This case has been brought by the plaintiffs, the people of New Zealand.
“The defendant is the New Zealand government.”
The charge read out against the government was for crimes against humanity.
Prosecutor for the plaintiffs Heka Robertson said that the government continuously failed to uphold its responsibility to its people.
“Like a financial sieve, its irresponsible decision-making has been draining New Zealand of resources,” Robertson said.
“New Zealand, your honour, is wounded and hurting, and the abuser is its own leadership.
Witnesses who were invited to take the stand (the American term for entering the witness box in this country) told how the government’s lockdowns and Covid response affected them.
One person said she fought her kids to stay home during the lockdowns because “that’s what the government told me”, and when schools opened up and closed again within one week she felt that the government exposed her children to Covid-19.