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Live UpdatesJul 23 2022

Protest blocks central Auckland motorway

live-update-July-23-2022.jpg

Protest blocks central Auckland motorway

Jul 23 2022

Protestors face prosecution for entering Auckland motorway

Auckland police say they anticipate a number of people will face charges for entering the motorway system during protest activity today.

Hundreds of people marched along a section of the motorway between Khyber Pass and Gillies Avenue as part of an anti-government protest organised by the Freedom and Rights Coalition and Convoy 2022.

“While the protestors were walking on the motorway our priority was to actively police their movements to ensure the safety of everyone,” said Auckland Central area commander Graeme Anderson.

“Now the protest has concluded, we will review the actions of those involved with a view to prosecution for being on the motorway.”

Freedom and Rights Coalition protestors walk down the motorway on-ramp at Newton Gully in Auckland, onto the southern motorway (Photo: Screenshot)

In addition to the offence of pedestrians on the motorway, police noted poor driving decisions by motorists including motorcyclists without helmets, children riding in the back of a ute, and at least one pedestrian who put themselves at significant risk by moving into a live traffic lane.

“While the organisers put out a press release the night before, they refused to engage with Auckland Police prior to the protest to provide detail about their intended route and did not divulge this information until the protest began,” Anderson said.

“This was extremely disappointing as it meant our staff and Waka Kotahi had to move quickly to keep all road users in the area safe.

“This was reckless behaviour on the part of the organisers and participants. I don’t know why they would think this was a safe act to undertake, and it had the added consequence of causing disruption to members of the community who were just trying to go about their day.”

Approximately 200 protestors gathered in Christchurch and a similar number in Wellington.

There were no arrests in Christchurch, while one person will be summoned in Wellington for a driving-related matter.

Greens vote to re-open nominations for James Shaw’s co-leader position

Delegates to the Green Party annual meeting have voted to re-open nominations for the co-leader position currently held by James Shaw, while voting to retain Marama Davidson as co-leader.

Under the party’s constitution, co-leaders are elected every year at the annual meeting. Nominations for co-leaders closed on June 11, with Marama Davidson and James Shaw the only nominations received.

The party’s constitution allows for nominations to be re-opened if at least of the 25% of the valid votes cast chose that option.

Speaking to media, Shaw said he was “inclined” to stand again, but would “take soundings” from the party membership as to the breadth of desire for a new co-leader before making a final decision.

James Shaw and Marama Davidson arrive at the Green Party election night event, 2020. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images; additional design by Tina Tiller)

Earlier this month the Otago University student magazine Salient reported that a faction of Young Greens were discussing an attempt to oust Shaw, with many arguing that his approach to climate change was too weak.

This is the second year that Shaw has faced a challenge at the party’s annual meeting. In 2021 he fought off a leadership challenge from Dunedin activist James Cockle. Shaw won overwhelmingly, with 116 of the 140 votes overall – or 83% support from party delegates.

Last week Shaw brushed off the prospect of a repeat challenge. “I do expect that there will be some people who vote to reopen nominations, but that happens every year,” he said. Today he expressed his surprise that the vote had reached the 25% threshold. His co-leader Marama Davidson described it as “a shock”.

In May the Greens changed their constitution to remove the requirement for one co-leader to be a man. The requirement now is that the co-leadership consists of one woman and one person of any gender. One co-leader also needs to be Māori.

Nominations for Shaw’s position close in a week, with the election taking place in a month. Marama Davidson is now sole leader until voting is complete.

Covid-19 latest: 22 deaths, 759 in hospital, 7,746 community cases

The Ministry of Health is today reporting 7,746 new community cases of Covid-19, 759 current hospitalisations and 22 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 8,703. Last Saturday it was 9,984.

Today’s report also includes 22 deaths, all of which have occurred since July 19. They take the number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,976.

The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 25. Last Saturday it was 20.

Of those who have died, six were from Auckland region, one was from Waikato, three were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from Taranaki, one was from MidCentral, one was from the Wellington region, two were from Nelson Marlborough, two were from Canterbury, and three were from Southern.

Two were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, five were in their 70s, six were in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. Ten were women and 12 were men.

Anti-government protest brings Southern Motorway to a standstill

Update: 12.40pm: Waka Kotahi has tweeted that the motorway has now reopened in both directions, with motorists warned to expect delays as congestion eases.

A protest organised by the Destiny Church-backed Freedom and Rights Coalition has blocked part of Auckland’s Southern Motorway.

Police closed off the southbound section of the motorway between Khyber Pass and Market Road after protest organisers said they’d walk onto the motorway following their gathering at The Domain this morning.

Protesters then managed to get onto the northbound lanes near Market Road, leading Waka Kotahi and police to close those lanes as well.

Hundreds of people and motorcyclists are on the northbound lane, with traffic backed up along SH1 between the Harbour Bridge and Ellerslie.

Today’s protest is part of a national day of action for the anti-government group originally formed in opposition to Covid-19 mandates, with protests also taking place in Wellington and Christchurch.

Motorcyclists ride down the on-ramp onto the Southern Motorway at Newmarket as part of the protest