Former National MP Matt King speaks at anti-mandate protest

Source: 1News

The anti-Covid-19 vaccine mandate protest outside Parliament entered its fifth day on Saturday and is expected to continue into next week.

It was a wet Saturday outside Parliament with a large group of protesters out in force - many in rain coats and with umbrellas.

The protesters seemed to be in a jovial mood with singing and speeches throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Former National Party MP Matt King spoke at the protest on Saturday afternoon, saying "we will win this".

King plans to stick around for the next two days.

On Friday a spokesperson for National was dismissive of King's planned actions.

"Matt King is 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."

Meanwhile, the Government has responded after Labour MP Terisa Ngobi had her office vandalised with anti-mandate messages.

"These acts of property damage and harassment are unlawful," a Government spokesperson said.

"The right to protest should always be protected but the damage and intimidation have gone too far.

"People have the choice not to get vaccinated from Covid-19, but they must respect the rights of those who do, who represent an overwhelming majority of New Zealand.

"As a government our focus remains on preparing for rising Omicron cases and getting more New Zealanders boosted to be as safe as possible."

Heavy rain set in in the afternoon and just after 3pm a group of police entered the protest area and emerged taking away a person on a stretcher.

Earlier in the morning the wet weather didn't deter a game of cricket among children at the protest and a fern was planted on the front lawn of Parliament.

Police officers remained at Parliament grounds overnight on Friday to monitor the protesters' activities, Superintendent Scott Fraser said on Saturday in a statement.

Earlier on Friday evening, a protester had a suspected medical event within the grounds.

An ambulance was called, but was unable to drive directly to the man due to the protesters' vehicles blocking the surrounding roads.

"This caused a delay in his treatment with ambulance staff having to walk some distance to get to the man who was waiting with Police," Fraser said.

"Despite the very difficult environment, our staff, and our Wellington Free Ambulance colleagues, acted with empathy and professionalism, ensuring this man got the medical treatment he needed."

One person was arrested on Friday night for breaching bail conditions.

There have been no arrests on Saturday at this stage.

Meanwhile, heavy rain is forecast to lash the capital through to Sunday afternoon, according to MetService.

An orange heavy rain warning is in place, with 100 to 180mm of rainfall expected to accumulate.

A strong wind watch has also been issued for Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds until Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: Sprinklers turned on protesters by Parliament Speaker

Parliament's sprinklers were turned on momentarily on Friday to deter the protesters.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said in a statement on Friday that police will continue to monitor and contain protest activity at Parliament grounds.

"Police have identified a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication," he said.

"Misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue.

"Some factions are actively promoting false advice about people’s rights and police powers, which is misleading and factually incorrect.

"For example, the use of a particular word or phrase by an individual will not impact the arrest of anyone involved in unlawful activity."

READ MORE: Protest: Range of different causes and motivations, police say

A 'Parliament dance party' was scheduled to take place on Saturday night.

Former National MP Matt King is expected to attend, joining protesters at the place where he used to work.