Please attribute to Police Commissioner Andrew Coster:
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has today activated the Major Operations Centre (MOC) at Police National Headquarters, to support the Wellington District operation following ongoing protest activity that is unreasonably impacting the city.
While Police acknowledge the right to lawfully protest, the effect of this protest activity around the Parliament grounds, on roads, residents, schools and businesses, is no longer tenable.
Having followed international developments, Police considers it unwise to escalate tensions, and we have offered alternatives that would enable the roads to be cleared.
However, protestors have not taken up the offer and nor have they shown any concern for the negative impact of their activities.
Police will continue to give protesters the opportunity to remove their vehicles voluntarily, but time is fast running out for this to happen.
The roads need to be cleared now or we will be towing vehicles.
Vehicles that are towed will be seized and not immediately released to those who have failed to move them.
Those who obstruct Police efforts to clear the roads can expect to be arrested and charged.
Wellington Police have today worked with Wellington City Council staff to once again ticket vehicles illegally parked and blocking roads.
We continue to encourage protesters to do the right thing and facilitate opening of roads in the area.
It is possible for this protest to be conducted lawfully but the current manner of protest is both unreasonable and unfairly impacting others.
By openly communicating our intention we are demonstrating our ongoing willingness to work in good faith to allow lawful and reasonable protest while protecting the interests of others in the area.
What’s clear from international experience is that there is no easy resolution to protests of this nature and the safety of the public and consequences of escalation are a significant factor in our decision making.
The MOC – a joint operation with Wellington District and national staff – will manage and coordinate resourcing, response options, logistics, and health and safety.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers has been appointed National Controller of the operation, and he will continue to work closely with Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell.