National security meeting to be held after parliament protest

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A number of military vehicles will be parked in Wellington on Thursday, with the protest against the Covid-19 vaccine mandate outside Parliament entering its tenth day.

Four army vehicles drove into Wellington from Linton and Waiouru on Wednesday, but the defense force said they were pre-positioned if needed.

No decision has been made on whether they will be used to help tow protesters’ vehicles.

So far, a dozen vehicles have been voluntarily moved from the streets surrounding Parliament, but none have been towed.

On Wednesday, police thanked “influencers” for helping to move some of the protesters’ vehicles.

But Thursday, about 450 vehicles clog the streets.

“The National Security System is hosting a meeting with a group of business leaders on Thursday to discuss the protest,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Department said in a statement.

“The meeting will ensure that there is a common understanding of the situation and that all potential risks and implications have been identified,” the statement said.

“The national security system is coordinated by the National Security Group of the Prime Minister’s Department and the Cabinet, but the police remain the primary agency responding to the protest.”

Speaking to RNZ just before 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said protesters had a right to express their views and made their point, but it was time to leave the area.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Christopher Luxon condemned ACT leader David Seymour’s meeting with protesters.

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