Anti-mandate protestors occupying Parliament grounds have issued a release this afternoon requesting an urgent meeting with senior Cabinet ministers "to open dialogue" following a week of protest.
The release says its unnamed senders represent the views "of the majority of groups present at Parliament today: Convoy 2022 NZ, Freedom Alliance, New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science, Outdoors & Freedom Movement, The Freedom and Rights Coalition and Voices for Freedom".
"The protest is a result of immense frustration and concern. People are outraged by the conduct of the government and its lack of respect, dismissive attitude and unwillingness to engage.
"The position of protestors and the Government have become entrenched, but this protest can end."
The release says the groups have come together in agreement that the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and all the orders and mandates made under that legislation must be revoked immediately.
"The Government needs to lift the unnecessary mandates, and an urgent meeting has been requested with senior Cabinet ministers to open dialogue.
"Not one Government representative has engaged in dialogue with the peaceful protesters. Their response of soaking the ground with high-pressure irrigation, bright lights, blasting music and ads at the gathering is infantile and highly unhelpful to bringing about a resolution. We are concerned that unless these tactics cease, they could cause significant damage to any trust held by the protesters that their elected representatives are interested in listening to them.
"In addition, the behaviour of the police last Thursday was unconscionable. New Zealanders, our friends, and the media worldwide watched in horror the deplorable and unlawful police conduct towards peaceful protestors, including women and children."
Protesters were "determined to maintain their presence" until the mandates ended, the release said.
The release concludes that the Government can contact Leighton Baker to "open dialogue" in respect of the protesters' demands.
Vehicles to be moved to Sky Stadium
Police urged protesters to move vehicles clogging the Wellington CBD as the anti-vaccination, anti-mandate protest within the grounds of Parliament enters its seventh day.
Superintendent Corrie Parnell it set to provide an update to media in Wellington at 5pm today.
Police also criticised protesters' actions in the central city saying they are creating "real stress and concern" for residents and nearby schools and businesses.
Superintendent Corrie Parnell says police will be providing vehicle owners with information throughout the day on how to move their cars and trucks to the Sky Stadium parking - which should be ready by 6.30pm.
He says the protest is causing distress to those in the surrounding area.
"The disruption to residents, schools and places of work, is creating real stress and concern, and people are feeling unsafe."
In a post on Twiter Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry revealed a friend of his who works as a public servant was spat on by protesters as they walked to work.
"Spat on for wearing a mask," he wrote.
"You can't make this up."
Victoria University Student's Association has spoken out against the protests, saying while it supports the right to peaceful protest, the occupation has overstepped this.
"There is no place for intimidation and harassment which puts the safety and wellbeing of the public, students and staff at risk. Our university community has a right to access campus - our place of work and study - safely," a spokesperson said.
They went on to say the situation should have been handled better by Victoria University, Wellington City Council and the police.
"Out of safety and caution, students & staff are now being directed to stay home. It should not have reached the point where the protest has overflowed from Parliament to directly impact campus premises, and the safety and wellbeing of our community has been placed into jeopardy.
"VUWSA calls for the University, Wellington City Council and law enforcement to take action against the dangerous and unwelcome gridlock of campus thoroughfare and occupation of university premises. "
The Parliament occupation has entered its seventh day, and Parnell says there is now a real concern for the health of protesters and police monitoring the situation.
Weather conditions were cold and wet overnight, and Parnell says protesters need to go - and take their children with them.
"We now have concerns about the health risks posed and sanitation issues."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agrees, saying today that "We all want them to leave".
Those gathered were an "imported form of protest" with a mix of Trump flags, Canadian flags and abusing members of the public for wearing a mask, Ardern told RNZ.
She believed the protest was anti-vaccine, not against the vaccine mandate.
Ardern told AM she did not approve of the tactics they had seen from the protesters.
"What we have seen out there seems much more anti-vaccination than anything else."
Some of the behaviour she had seen was "pure misinformation around the role of vaccines".
"We've seen some horrific behaviour down here.
Asked what her message to protesters was, Ardern said: "Go home - and take your children."
'Remove mandates and we leave' say protesters
Former National MP Matt King joined the protest over the weekend and says he believes 98 per cent of them would leave if the mandates were removed.
"I believe we can remove most of them, if not all of them off if we get a rock-solid guarantee they will remove the mandates on a certain date," he told AM.
If police step in and begin arresting people again, more protesters would flock in, he said.
When asked how long it could go for, King said people were passionate about this issue and their human rights and felt there would be a tag team of people.
Parnell indicated yesterday that the protest would likely last for days at least, but negotiations were still being pursued.
He said about 400-500 people had consistently been in tents, the crowd peaked at about 3000, and police had spoken to key leaders and organisers.
"To date that hasn't been entirely successful," Parnell said on the occupation's sixth day, when New Zealand again broke daily records for new Covid-19 cases.
The risk of Covid spreading through the crowd was a major concern for police, Parnell said.
"Common logic would tell you in the presence of the audience we've got there, primarily no masks, a lot of non-vaccination mandate. That is a very real risk, not only to the occupiers but indeed to my staff."
Sanitation issues at the site were also a concern for police.
"Sanitisation has been in the form of portaloos down there ... some of the filming has being quite graphic, particularly around children, and on the grounds the squalor of the water, defecation and surrounding environments."
Mallard criticised for approach, protesters strike back
National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis has slammed Trevor Mallard for his "childish" attempts to clear protestors off the front lawn of Parliament.
Over the weekend, the Speaker of the House left sprinklers running through the night and blasted Barry Manilow music and Covid-19 ads through loudspeakers to try and shift the protestors, who are now in day seven of their occupation.
Willis told Newstalk ZB Wellington Mornings host Nick Mills his actions were "childish and provocative".
"This is now a police operation and his actions were not condoned by police and they were likely extremely unhelpful."
Willis said Mallard's actions poorly represented Parliament.
"He did not seek our views on his actions, he did not seek input from police, and frankly I think it's despicable."
Protesters have attempted to strike back at Mallard by signing him up as a member of the National Party, the Act Party - and to Pornhub.
Mallard told the NZ Herald this morning he received emails from all three groups thanking him for signing up as a member.
He did not know who did it - but suspected it was related to his attempts to dislodge the protesters by playing music and Covid-19 ads to them all weekend, as well as turning on the sprinklers.
He said he found it very amusing: "All three of those are equally unlikely."
He said within five minutes he had three subscribers on Pornhub, and another three people wanted to be friends.
He would not comment on his decision to try to oust the protesters using Barry Manilow, James Blunt, and a rendition of a Celine Dion song played on a recorder - but the music is no longer playing.
Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said yesterday that it was not a tactic the Police would have used. Mallard has been derided by Act's David Seymour for being childish.
Neither the music nor Cyclone Dovi drove the protesters out, and tents are still being pitched on the lawn and the surrounding areas.
Record number of Covid-19 infections
New Zealand has recorded a new record number of Covid-19 infections, with
Today's community cases are in Northland (21), Auckland (768), Waikato (82), Bay of Plenty (23), Lakes (12), Hawke's Bay (5), MidCentral (5), Taranaki (1), Tairawhiti (6), Wairarapa (12), Wellington (6), Hutt Valley (14), Nelson Marlborough (2), Canterbury (4), South Canterbury (1) and Southern (19), the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.
Thirty-nine people with Covid are in hospitals in Whangārei, Auckland, Waikato, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch - none in ICU or HDU. The average age of those in hospital is 55.
Twenty-five new Covid cases were also detected at the border.