Wellington leaders call for end to protests

A letter from 28 Wellington-area leaders has been released calling on protesters to immediately halt activity “in and around the precincts of Parliament”.

Nine mayors of Wellington, Kāpiti and Wairarapa, two principals of neighboring schools, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Victoria, Wellington MPs Grant Robertson, James Shaw and Nicola Willis, Wellington Chamber of Commerce President Simon Arcus and Wellington Hospitality President Paul Retimanu all signed the letter.

‘The people of Wellington are fed up with this illegal activity, harassment and disruption, we demand that it stops immediately,’ it read.

“Those who live, work and go to school and college have been subjected to significant levels of abuse and harassment when attempting to move around the area. There has been intimidation towards Wellingtonians and city workers, and some residents said they were too scared or distressed to leave their homes.”

The letter said the protest vehicles were “preventing Wellingtonians from moving freely, including using public transport, posing a risk to the movement of emergency services and severely disrupting businesses”.

“A number of businesses have had to close to protect their staff, while for others customers cannot access these businesses. The University has had to close its Pipitea campus, disrupting teaching and learning .”

“We remind protesters that this city and these streets are those of Wellingtonians who have the right to access them freely and without fear.”

Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff also issued a statement on Friday calling for an end to the protest.

“We are concerned about the continued undue disruption it is causing to workers and their families, including school children and students. The protest is negatively impacting the ability of workers in the surrounding area to do their jobs safely and The protest involved harassment of the public, it prevented workers from moving around and accessing public transport, it blocked roads and endangered emergency services.

“We are further concerned by the tone of much of the protest, calling for violence against our elected officials and the media. Not to mention the conspiracy theories and unscientific claims disseminated in an attempt to undermine our response to public health. These are not actions consistent with a free and open democratic society.”

The demonstration had continued into its eleventh day. Most of the written threats around Parliament had been removed, with some signs apologizing to people who had been abused, while the spot on the statue of former Prime Minister Richard Seddon which had remnants of a cross Spray painted swastika now has a panel covering it.

Members of the media who attempted to cover the protest were still receiving threats from some people participating in the protest.

About Elaine Morales

Check Also

A life in biochemistry: Dr. Julie Senecoff shares her passion with students at Manor College

Dr. Julie Senecoff, director of pre-healthcare programs at Manor College, finds the most enjoyable “lightbulb …