Two people arrested after allegedly entering Government House grounds

Two people have been arrested after allegedly entering Government House grounds in Wellington on Sunday evening.

The gates of Government House had been the scene of a demonstration by about 40 anti-mandate protesters calling for Parliament to be dissolved.

Police said two people entered the grounds and were arrested shortly before 6pm.

“A police dog unit was to apprehend them. Police are making enquiries into the incident and are speaking with the pair,” a police spokesperson said.

A man who lives near to Government House said he saw one of the people in his driveway.

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Police on the street following two people being caught in Government House grounds.
supplied

Police on the street following two people being caught in Government House grounds.

The man, who did not want to be named for safety reasons, heard sirens from the group of townhouses on Drummond St on Sunday evening.

He looked outside and saw multiple police cars in the driveway, and heard police saying to each other: “did you see him, did you see him?”

“He was actually down my driveway behind a car,” the man said.

He saw a plain-clothed policeman step out of a car with a Taser and a man drop to the ground.

He also saw a woman running inside the fence line, and a police dog chasing after her.

The man said after some time the woman re-emerged with police, crying and with what looked like minor injuries.

He saw the two arrested, and the incident was over by about 6.45 pm.

Some protesters had been gathering outside Government House for the past two days, calling for Parliament’s dissolution.

But even if the Governor-General wanted to dissolve Parliament, this would need to be done on advice from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

A flyer handed out at the site called for Wellingtonians to “give us 7000-plus people for seven days and end tyranny”. There were roughly 40 people there on Sunday.

Those there would not confirm they had been at the 23-day occupation outside Parliament grounds, which ended on Wednesday when police moved them, resulting in bricks being thrown and fires started.

Anti-mandate protesters gathered outside Government House beside Wellington's Basin Reserve

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Anti-mandate protesters gathered outside Government House beside Wellington’s Basin Reserve

However, the “Northland community bus”, which was often at the Parliament protest, was seen arriving at Government House about midday on Sunday. People got off to join the protest.

Government House spokeswoman Nerina Bennett confirmed Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro had no plans to dissolve Parliament as a result of the protest action.

STUFF

A Stuff photographer/visual journalist shares his video footage of what it was like to cover the protests on Wednesday, March 2.

There had been a small group of fewer than 10 protesters outside Government House a few days recently but Sunday’s turnout seemed to be larger, she said.

Earlier, police confirmed they were monitoring gatherings, such as the one outside Government House, which was a “recurring event”.

Meanwhile, camp sites around Wellington that were used by the protesters who moved on from Parliament on Wednesday appeared to be emptying.

Pierre Huurdeman — not a protester — was staying at Red Rocks carpark, where some protesters had moved to.

Police clashed with the protesters as they removed tents and camping equipment from the occupation site on day 23 of the anti-mandate protests Parliament in Wellington on Wednesday.

BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF

Police clashed with the protesters as they removed tents and camping equipment from the occupation site on day 23 of the anti-mandate protests Parliament in Wellington on Wednesday.

He said the numbers of the protesters staying there had reduced each night, from 10, to three, to the last one who left on Sunday morning.

That was likely because of regular police visits to the site, he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Conservation operations manager Moana Smith-Dunlop said about 70 people associated with the Parliament occupation arrived at the Catchpool Campsite in Remutaka Forest Park on Thursday evening.

The campground was closed as a safety precaution but those there had been well-behaved, respectful, and paid campsite fees, she said.

Most had left by Sunday with more due to move during the day. The camps remained closed for now, she said.

Wellington Top 10 Holiday Park duty manager Andrew Snell confirmed a group from the Freedom and Rights Coalition had stayed at the Lower Hutt campground throughout the protest and remained there on Sunday.

“They are like a big, peaceful church group,” he said. The campground did not require a vaccine pass for people to stay there.

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