Image: Toby Morris

Live UpdatesFeb 12 2022

454 new Covid-19 cases in the community

  • There are 454 new Covid-19 cases in the community, a slight increase on yesterday’s 446 new cases. Twenty-seven cases are in hospital.
  • The parliament protest is now in its fifth day, with speaker Trevor Mallard’s decision to run the lawn sprinklers overnight not deterring more people from joining the occupation. One arrest was made overnight. A heavy rain warning is in place for Wellington.
Image: Toby Morris

454 new Covid-19 cases in the community

  • There are 454 new Covid-19 cases in the community, a slight increase on yesterday’s 446 new cases. Twenty-seven cases are in hospital.
  • The parliament protest is now in its fifth day, with speaker Trevor Mallard’s decision to run the lawn sprinklers overnight not deterring more people from joining the occupation. One arrest was made overnight. A heavy rain warning is in place for Wellington.
Feb 12 2022

NZ parliament speaker blasts Barry Manilow on loop at Convoy protesters

As the anti-mandate Convoy protesters readied for a fifth night camped out on the lawns of the New Zealand parliament, the speaker of the house tried a new tactic: installing a sound system, cranking it up and treating the crowd to Barry Manilow’s ‘ Copacabana (At the Copa)’, the Macarena, and Covid-19 public health messages, all on a 15-minute loop. The rotation also includes an announcement by Trevor Mallard, the speaker of the house, whose responsibilities include oversight of the parliamentary complex, reminding protesters that “erections of tents or any structure is not permitted” and ordering them to leave the grounds.

It is just the latest in a series of efforts from Mallard. On Thursday he ordered the grounds closed, meaning that anyone who gathered there could be considered a trespasser. Yesterday he ordered that sprinklers in parliament grounds be left on overnight. Protesters responded by digging trenches in the lawns. Today they attempted to lampoon Mallard by letting loose in the wet weather a number of rubber ducks.

Mallard told media local residents had been consulted on the use of loudspeakers, and supported the tactic, which may run through the night. “We wanted to make sure everybody here had the warning about trespass and because of the number of unvaccinated people in the audience, we believe it’s important to promulgate messages about vaccination,” he said. Of the sprinkler gambit, he said on Friday night: “They’re not legally on the ground, so there is no problem adding a little to their discomfort.”

To date the police have made 126 arrests, 122 of those coming on Thursday. Around 1,000 protesters remain at parliament despite heavy rain. They appear to be able to bring large items into the grounds unperturbed: images shared on social media showed a stack of boxes containing patio heaters.

Livestreams from the grounds show protesters responding to the latest tactic with boos, songs of their own, and dancing to the Macarena. Another small group of people could be seen inside Parliament House dancing to the Los del Río tune.

Barry (left) and Trevor.

Former National MP attends protest, quits party

A thorn in the side of the National Party has been removed with Matt King, Northland MP from 2017 to 2020, announcing he has resigned from the party. It came as the former police officer, who has previously expressed anti-vaccine views, attended and addressed the anti-mandate convoy protest on its fifth day at parliament grounds. “During recent months, and after careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that my values are not aligned with the current position of the National Party,” he said in a social media post. “One of the party’s values that always resonated deeply with me, was that of personal responsibility – individual freedom and choice. The pro-mandate stance of the National Party is not one that I support, and I have therefore made the decision to resign my membership with the National Party.” His time in parliament had been “the greatest honour of my life”, he said.

A spokesperson for National leader Christopher Luxon told the Spinoff he had not spoken to the former MP ahead of his decision, adding: “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.”

National MP Maureen Pugh on Thursday deleted a social media post in support of the protest, saying she had misunderstood its objectives, while another member, Harete Hipango, has been reprimanded by Luxon for appearing to lend her support to the anti-vaccine movement.

Matt King on the farm

The shape of the outbreak

Like graphs? There are heaps more over at The Spinoff Covid tracker

454 new Covid-19 cases in the community

There are 454 new Covid-19 cases in the community, the Ministry of Health has announced, a slight increase on yesterday’s total of 446.

The epicentre of the omicron outbreak remains in Auckland, which recorded 296 cases today. Seventy-two cases were recorded in Waikato, 23 in Bay of Plenty, eight in Lakes, seven in Hawke’s Bay, five in MidCentral, one in Taranaki, five in Wellington, 12 in the Hutt Valley, two in Wairarapa, and 13 in Southern.

A new case has also been confirmed in South Canterbury, which will be added to tomorrow’s figures. A location of interest in Tekapo has been published – anyone who was at Mackenzies Cafe Bar & Grill between 5-5.45pm on February 6 should self-isolate, get a test, and record their visit online or call Healthline so contact tracers can get in touch.

Just eight new cases were identified at the border.

Twenty-seven Covid-19 cases are now in hospital, 25 of whom have active infections. Two are in North Shore hospital, 11 in Middlemore, 10 in Auckland, two in Waikato and one in Christchurch. None are requiring intensive care.

There were 24,820 tests processed yesterday, and the Ministry of Health said while high testing levels were encouraging, “the right people should get tested for the right reasons”.

“There is good testing capacity throughout the country, but unnecessary testing could delay results for those who urgently need them.

“People should only get tested if they have cold or flu symptoms, if they have been at a location of interest, or if they have been asked to get tested by a health official.”

Meanwhile, Tairāwhiti’s eligible population has now reached 90% fully vaccinated – the 18th DHB to do so – and its eligible Māori population has reached 90% first doses.

One arrest overnight as parliament protest numbers grow

The parliament protest is now in its fifth day, with speaker Trevor Mallard’s decision to run the lawn sprinklers overnight not deterring more people from joining the occupation.

There are now more than 1,000 people on parliament’s lawn, according to media estimates, with trenches having been dug overnight to divert the water from the sprinklers away from people’s tents, and hay being brought in to spread over the mud. A heavy rain warning is in place for Wellington.

Police maintained a presence at parliament overnight, and made one arrest for a breach of bail conditions, according to a police statement. There have been no arrests today so far.

Yesterday evening, a protester had a “suspected medical event” within parliament grounds, according to the statement. “An ambulance was unable to drive directly to him because of 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.”

Police said they will maintain “a significant presence” at parliament today and “continue to explore options to resolve the disruption to local businesses and allow free and safe movement around the city”.

This morning, concrete blocks were added to the barriers between protesters and police.

Trenches dug to channel water after the speaker of parliament ordered the sprinklers to be turned on all night in the grounds of parliament (Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)