Police had a highly visible presence on roading networks across New Zealand today, as large protest gatherings took place in many cities and towns.
There was traffic disruption in several areas across the North Island, however the gatherings were peaceful and the vast majority of groups dispersed relatively quickly, Police said in a statement.
In Tāmaki Makaurau, officers monitored groups of convoys on parts of the motorway network.
Police estimate around 300 vehicles were involved across Tāmaki Makaurau, with two arrests made.
“The first was after a vehicle failed to stop for Police near Esmonde Road on State Highway 1. The vehicle involved has been impounded. Further south, a woman was arrested on State Highway 1 near Orams Road for disorderly behaviour on the motorway,” Police said.
In Northland, around 500 people took part in a hikoi through central Whangārei.
“There was minimal disruption to traffic and no arrests or enforcement action required.”
In Waikato District, approximately 50 cars travelled from the Hampton Downs/Ohinewai area and stopped on the Waikato Expressway.
“Although the vehicles were only stopped for a short time, this did have a significant impact on traffic on the Expressway, causing backlogs of two to three kilometres.”
Across Hamilton City, Police estimate there were around 200 protesters, who they say largely kept off the road.
Several gatherings were held in towns across Bay of Plenty District, including Whakatāne, Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupō.
“There was minimal disruption in these areas, however at one point a large truck was reported to be blocking a lane in Hewletts Road, Tauranga,” Police said.
“Officers spoke to the truck driver and ascertained this had been organised by the protesters due to their own safety concerns.
“Officers arranged for the truck to be moved and made clear that using a vehicle to block the road in this way was not acceptable.”
In Central District, small gatherings were held in New Plymouth and Hāwera, with no reports of any disruption.
Meanwhile, approximately 100 vehicles travelled through Palmerston North to The Square, where a hui was held prior to the group dispersing.
In Whanganui, around 100 people gathered at Moutua Gardens, before walking to State Highway 3 on the southern side of the town. The group remained on the road for around 10 minutes and diversions were put in place until the group were moved on. The group then gathered outside the courthouse and the police station, before returning to Moutua Gardens.
Eastern District also saw a number of gatherings, with around 200 people taking part in a hikoi in Gisborne; around 80 people gathering outside the Wairoa courthouse; and approximately 200-300 people gathering in Hastings.
“There was a large gathering in Wellington City. Between 500-800 protesters gathered on Bolton Street and walked to Parliament grounds via The Terrace. This did cause some traffic congestion but this cleared quite quickly once the protesters had reached Parliament.”
“There were also gatherings in Tītahi Bay and Masterton; and a number of vehicles travelled from Kōkiri Marae in Seaview into Wellington City, completing a circuit of streets around Parliament before returning to Seaview,” Police said.
The South Island only had a few small gatherings – with the main ones being held in Nelson and Dunedin. There was minimal disruption in both cities, Police said.