News | 1 March 2022
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FAQs about Parliament occupation

Wellington City Council is working hard with Police and partner agencies to deal with the protest occupation at Parliament. We have collated a list of frequently asked questions to provide the public with more information about the Council's response and other services that are impacted.

The Wellington CBD at dusk with light shining from buildings.

What is being done about protesters tipping human waste into gutters?
Greater Wellington's environmental protection team are currently investigated raw sewage being emptying into the stormwater system around the Parliament area. This waste is currently discharging into the western side of the harbour. LAWA have updated their website to advise people to avoid swimming, recreating, fishing in the harbour until notified. 

Have protesters plumbed a toilet into the storm water system? 
We can confirm that two wooden toilet cubicles have been built at the protest site. These are fully functioning toilets with water flushing cisterns. The waste is entering the wastewater sewer network. This is clearly an illegal connection, however given the circumstances we are not prepared to send our employees within the cordon in an attempt to remove these structures. We are working with Greater Wellington Regional Council to better understand why this was not prevented by the Police.

What is happening with the shower block that has been parked at the protest?
Council and Police are aware of a shower facility which appeared on Monday morning. The Police have now removed the unit from the occupation site. 

Will the Council declare a state of emergency? 
No. At this stage the New Zealand Police as the lead agency have advised us that they do not require any additional legal powers to deal with the situation.

Why isn’t the Council doing more to remove the protesters?
The Police are leading the response to the protest, because of their specialist skills and expertise. The Council is providing any and all support to Police as requested. Given the significant complexities and risks present at the site, Council officers will not be undertaking regulatory responses that are not in line with Police strategy, and endorsed by them.

Why isn’t WCC towing vehicles?

The Council is working with Police and will take direction from them. The overall safety of our people is a number one priority.

Why do I have to pay for parking and protestors don’t?
People are required to pay for parking during the hours of 8am to 8pm city wide. We are aware that the protesters have not paid for parking in the vicinity of the protest and we have already taken enforcement action with the support of the Police. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will take direction from Police while ensuring the overall safety of our people.

Why aren’t illegally parked cars being ticketed?
Our parking officers have already ticketed a large number of vehicles parked illegally around Parliament in conjunction with Police. We are working with the Police to do this in a way that is safe for our staff.

How is Council responding to the health and safety issues at Parliament - access to water, sanitation, food selling/food truck licences?
For any food trucks on site we will check they are licensed to sell food. There are porta-loos on site (not supplied by council) and the protesters have access to water.

Why isn’t Parliament subject to water restrictions?
Parliament is on corporate water supply and is not subject to the same restrictions as residents.

Will you strip licenses from food trucks serving protestors/parked illegally?
Licences can only be removed through a statutory process, and initial assessments are that there is no breach of the Food Act.

What do I do if I feel unsafe?
Any harassment or abuse should be reported to the Police.

Why did you provide the protestors with porta-loos?
These were not provided by the Council.

What will you do with the rubbish and waste left by the protestors? Who will pay to remove it?
The disposal of rubbish and waste is the responsibility of the landowner.
Rubbish left on Parliament grounds. As this is Crown land, it is the responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs to organise the clear up and disposal of this rubbish.
Rubbish left on Victoria University of Wellington grounds. As this is University land it is the responsibility of Victoria University of Wellington to organise the clear up and disposal of this rubbish.
Rubbish left in litter bins and on the street. As this is Council land, Council is responsible for the clear up and disposal of rubbish and street cleaning.

What will you do to support businesses that have had to close?
We recognise that this is a very difficult time for businesses in the Parliament precinct. We are urgently looking for a response that helps support Wellington businesses in the area to recover.

What will you do if emergency vehicles cannot pass through?
Emergency vehicles have been informed of which locations have limited access - any emergency vehicles that need access will be provided with alternate routes and we will support them with traffic management and traffic signals as appropriate.

Who will pay to repair damage to lawns and other public property?
Damage to lawns and public property will be handled between the Council road maintenance and PSR teams.

How are the pop-up kitchens allowed to operate without a license - isn't that unsafe?
The pop-up kitchens do not appear to be selling food - so the council is not directly involved in regulating the activity.

What is being done to protect the welfare of children at the protest?
The Police are monitoring the situation closely and will follow up as needed.

Is it legal to freedom camp anywhere now?
Parliament land is not covered under WCC's Freedom Camping Bylaws in schedule 1.

What will happen if I refuse to pay my parking ticket?

Once ticketed people have 28 days to make payment and then a reminder notice will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. If payment is not received after that it will be referred for collection. If people wish to appeal their ticket they have 28 days to do so.

What do I do if I need to access library services at the He Matapihi Molesworth branch?
Our He Matapihi Molesworth Library remains closed until further notice because of access issues to the National Library building. The National Library is also closed. If you have reserves waiting, please be assured that these will be kept for you until we're able to reopen. Items that are due can be returned to any Wellington City Libraries branch. We apologise for any inconvenience.

How are we ticketing cars with no registration or license plate?
The non display of a registration or license plate does not necessarily mean that we are unable to ticket and the Council will ticket if we are able to do so. 

Will we be cancelling contracts with tow companys/will there be repercussions for tow companies refusing to operate?
The Council cannot comment on existing contractual arrangements. The Police are continuing to work directly with Tow Operators

What happens to vehicles that were parked in by protesters and ran over their time limit? Will they be ticketed? 
If a member of the public feels they have been ticketed unfairly they are welcome to appeal and we will investigate the circumstances around that ticket when they appeal.

How are complaints about noise from the protesters being handled?
Both the police and Council have shared responsibilities regarding noise control enforcement. With the council ultimately reliant on the police to enforce any excessive noise mitigation requirements under sections 327 and 328 of the Resource Management Act. The police are taking a lead on managing the response to the protest and it is important Councils response does not interfere with this. This includes noise control. Council has discretion with regards to how and when it undertakes enforcement, this is specified in its enforcement policy.  Council will assist the police as when deemed necessary.  

Why have Metlink (part of the Greater Wellington Regional Council) removed services from the Lambton Interchange?
Following a risk assessment over the weekend for the parliament protest, the decision was made to close the interchange. Further, given the abundance of vehicles using the interchange as parking, the ability for buses to service the area or layover safely has been compromised. Everyone’s safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of our plans and ongoing diversions. 

What does this mean for bus services using the Lambton Interchange?
Customers heading towards Wellington Station (Northbound):                                                             
Customers will need to disembark at either Stop 5012 (Farmers, Lambton Quay) or Stop 5018 (Opposite Capital Gateway, Thorndon Quay)                                       
Customers heading into the city from Wellington Station (Southbound):                                                                 
Instead of Lambton Interchange stops A, B, and C, customers should instead head to the temporary stop on Brandon Street where services are departing from.
Bowen Street:                                                                 
Routes 2, 14 and 22 will continue to use Bowen Street. Route 14 services will continue to travel along the current detour route via Lambton Quay and Bowen Street. Route 22 services will start and end at the temporary bus terminus stop on Brandon Street instead of Lambton Interchange.                                               
School Routes:                                                                               
The following school services which usually depart from Wellington Interchange will now depart from Stop 5506 (Lambton Quay near David Jones). Drivers have been informed and will allow students time to walk from the Station to Lambton Quay.                                                         
751 - Wellington - St Patrick's & Rongotai Colleges                     
784 ­- Scots College - Hataitai - Mt Victoria - Wellington