Anti-mandate protesters at Parliament ignored a police offer of free parking on Monday night and instead turned nearby streets into a rave party, with their vehicles continuing to block central Wellington roads.
On Monday afternoon, Superintendent Corrie Parnell, the Wellington District Commander, urged people parked unlawfully around the Wellington CBD to move their vehicles, saying they could instead park for free in a secured area at Sky Stadium from 6.30pm.
However, a witness told the Herald just before 9.30pm that protesters were singing and dancing, with cars and campervans still illegally blocking nearby roads.
"It looks like these guys aren't going anywhere," the man said.
The Herald asked police how many vehicle owners had taken up the police offer tonight and moved to Sky Stadium.
A police spokesman said this evening that they could not confirm any progress regarding protesters' vehicles tonight.
Earlier on Monday, Parnell told media that vehicles were free to come and go from the stadium and vehicle owners had been "quite receptive" to the idea.
Police hoped to have the blocked roads cleared last night. While forcibly removing vehicles was an option, it was not his preference.
"We've had some really positive lines going today with some key influences in there. It's our aspiration that we will get the roadway clear.
"Wellingtonians have the right to move freely and safely around the city so all roads being clear is a top priority," he said.
Protesters had been given information about how and when their vehicles could be relocated, Parnell said.
Police had spoken with the Defence Force about helping to move the vehicles if needed.
The witness told the Herald he had seen one campervan move earlier in the night but believed no cars had been towed.
However, protesters were dancing to loud music on Parliament grounds with the party spilling out on to the blocked street.
As police work to bring remove the occupation and restore order in the central city, additional officers had arrived from around the country. However, police said they were not in a position to provide numbers for operational reasons. Protester numbers have varied from between 300 and 3000 over the past seven days.
"Police continue to have a large presence at Parliament and have had productive talks with some protest groups," Parnell said. "Attempts to connect with other factions are ongoing."
He said there was a high probability the protest could remain for days or even weeks.
"The best result here is to work collaboratively with those key persons down there in terms of a successful outcome," Parnell said.
"It's not going to happen overnight as I've previously said, you simply can't arrest your way out of this situation."
He said there were "no incidents of note" at the protest yesterday, but expressed concern at the number of children present.
Parnell said he was aware of people considering "counter-protests" and he strongly advised against that.
Earlier, police criticised protesters' actions in the central city, saying they were creating "real stress and concern" for residents and nearby schools and businesses.
Parnell said police would 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 Twitter, Lower Hutt mayor Campbell Barry revealed a friend 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."
The Victoria University of Wellington Students 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 and 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."