'If you need to protest, go to Wellington'

By Te Ao - Māori News

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua chief operating officer Antony Thompson says moves by a group of protestors who blocked Auckland's northern checkpoint for over an hour this morning are thoughtless and putting whānau in danger.

About 50 protestors arrived from the northern side of the boundary on State Highway 1 at Te Hana and caused three hours of disruption.

Police Waitematā district commander Superintendent Naila Hassan says the actions of protestors required staff to physically intervene to move them off the road and, in the process, an officer was bitten by a protestor yet to be identified. 

Thompson says precious resources and trucks carrying food and medical supplies were being held up unnecessarily, creating major risks to the communities and whānau of the North. He says there is already a range of pressing issues taking place, which is causing hardship, including the rising daily cases of Covid-19 in the North.

Ngāti Whātua border patroller Grace Le Grow says they are there to protect whānau.

"This morning wasn't a very good scene," Grace says. "People trying to get to work, protestors on the road, wrong time.

"If you need to protest, go to Wellington. Don't come to the border."