Police have sent reinforcements to the forecourt outside Parliament and ordered anti-vaccine mandate protesters to remove their tents or be arrested.
Dozens have been arrested so far with the standoff showing no sign of abating.
The ministry announced a record day of cases on Thursday with 306 new COVID infections with 12 people in hospital.
What you need to know:
- There were a record 306 new community cases in New Zealand on Thursday.
- Location of new community cases: 216 are in Auckland, 48 in Waikato, 12 in Northland, seven in Bay of Plenty, six in Lakes, five in Taranaki, four in Tairāwhiti, three in Hutt Valley (3), three in Capital and Coast and two in MidCentral
- Of the 12 people in hospital on Thursday: five in Middlemore, two in Auckland City, two in Christchurch,one is in North Shore, one in Rotorua, one in Bay of Plenty.
- Tensions remain high outside Parliament as a face-off between protesters and police shows no signs of subsiding. Dozens of arrests have been made while paramedics are on the scene.
- Wellington Mayor's office says uniformed parking wardens will head out on Thursday accompanied by police to ticket the cars outside Parliament.
These live updates have finished.
6:50pm - National's COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says the Government has managed to make "an already-confusing situation" for companies grappling with isolation rules "even more baffling".
"The 'Close Contact Exemption Scheme' developed in a hurry in the last two weeks because the Government didn't do any work last year, is classic Labour," he says.
"The Government is going to establish the most bureaucratic and tedious system imaginable for businesses to get their employees classified as 'critical' and therefore eligible to access rapid tests to get back to work if they are close contacts of COVID cases.
"Workers will have to have a Critical Services Register Letter, a Critical Worker Authorisation Letter, a workplace ID, personal ID, a text message confirming they are a close contact, and a RAT order number."
He says "all this bureaucracy" for the limited number of critical workers means there will "probably be more bureaucrats administering the system than employees who can access it".
"The Government has got things entirely around the wrong way. Every business should be able to access rapid tests and every business should be able to have their employees who are close contacts use RATs to return to work, not just ones deemed ‘critical’ by the Government," Bishop says.
"The Government is yet again getting it wrong with rapid antigen tests. What they need to do is very clear - legalise all tests already approved in Australia, allow them to be sold in supermarkets and pharmacies, stop seizing tests ordered by the private sector, and allow any business to access them to get employees to return to work."
6:30pm - On the same day New Zealand recorded 306 new COVID-19 cases - our highest ever daily count - there are fears a large protest at Parliament will become a super-spreader event.
Violence erupted on the lawns in front of the Beehive this morning, after hundreds of protesters were trespassed.
It's the third day of protesting vaccine mandates and at least 120 people were arrested. Police say two of their officers were assaulted.
Both sides are bringing in reinforcements with fears the standoff could last for days to come.
6:05pm - There are two new locations of interest. They are:
- The Ballarat Queenstown, 10pm from February 5 to 12am on February 6
- The World Bar & Restaurant Queenstown, February 6 from 12am to 1:30am.
5:45pm - Wellington parking wardens who are ticketing illegally-parked cars are each accompanied by at least two police officers.
RNZ reports that about 120 tickets have been issued so far this afternoon.
Car owners will be fined $40 if their vehicle is parked on the footpath and $60 if they're parked on yellow lines or the road.
5:30pm - One woman over the loudspeaker says the protesters will remain there until the vaccine mandates are abolished.
She says she's a law abiding citizen, but when a law is unjust, "it's your right to stand up against that law".
5:25pm - Tensions are calm for now.
People are still talking through the loudspeaker and police have spread themselves down the metal fence barricade.
5:10pm - There are seven new locations of interest. They are:
- Jervois Steakhouse Queenstown, February 3 from 8pm to 9pm
- BP 2go Cromwell, February 5 from 12:15pm to 12:30pm
- The Sundeck Rooftop Bar Queenstown, February 5 from 9pm to 10pm
- Paradise Bar Otara, February 6 from 1am to 3am
- Habana Boutique Rum Bar Queenstown, February 6 from 2:30am to 4am
- Flight NZ5017 Auckland to Napier, February 6 from 10:45am to 11:41am
- Hoyts Cinemas Sylvia Park, February 7 from 1:20pm to 4pm.
4:55pm - Former TV host Liz Gunn is now on the loudspeaker.
She claims that "cruel politicians" have injured thousands of people with the vaccine.
She also says that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is "corrupt", as are all MPs.
4:40pm - The crowd has once against started chanting "freedom".
Police officers are now lining the metal fence barracades opposite protesters, with large groups of officers standing at different points on Parliament's forecourt.
4:35pm - The wind has picked up a bit in Wellington over the past few minutes.
While many tents are still pitched on Parliament's lawn, some people are now packing up.
There are still many people on-site.
4:30pm - The Northland DHB has now reached the 90 percent mark for first doses.
As of 11:59pm last night, just 21 people needed to get their first vaccine to reach this milestone.
Northland DHB chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain says reaching this goal is "significant".
There are just 4610 people left to have their second dose for Northland to be at 90 percent fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Our key message has always been that Tai Tokerau needs to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and there is still a lot of work to do," Dr Chamberlain says.
There are 19,480 children in Tai Tokerau, 10,478 tamariki (54 percent) are Māori. A total 23 percent of tamariki (across all ethnicities) have received their first dose, and 14 percent of the Māori tamariki have received their first dose to date.
A total 86 percent of Māori have had their first dose and 80 percent are fully vaccinated in Northland.
"To get through the far more contagious Omicron outbreak, it is even more critical that everyone gets vaccinated to protect themselves and their community," Dr Chamberlain says.
"Now that Omicron is in our community, we expect case numbers to grow rapidly.
"Two shots were great protection against Delta, but boosters are the best way to fight Omicron."
4:17pm - Supt Parnell says there was a clear shift in tone and intent on Thursday morning after people started pitching tents on Parliament's lawn.
He says not all of the protest attendees had been there through the night.
There were around 70 tents pitched overnight, but some were lost due to the bad weather.
The press conference has now finished.
4:15pm - On why it took three days to take action, Supt Parnell says people do have the right to protest, but their behaviour has gone beyond what is acceptable.
He says police have never lost control of the city during this protest and the scale of it was unprecedented for New Zealand. He says it had to be a measured approach they took.
4:12pm - On arrests, custody units across Wellington are in full use .
Supt Parnell says police staff have acted "proportionately and fairly" in terms of what they've been faced with.
4:10pm - Two police staff have been assaulted today and they are getting appropriate care.
Principally, the charges are for tresspassing or obstruction. They've being bailed for a court appearance at a later date.
They're also being issued a tresspass notice and can't return to Parliament grounds for two years.
4:07pm - Supt Parnell says he acknowledges the right to peaceful protest in New Zelaand, but there's been a number of disruptions for businesses.
He says their role is to maintain law and order.
A total 150 additional resources have been brought in, alongside the 900 already based in the city.
4:04pm - Superintendent Corrie Parnell has arrived. He says police have taken a measured with response with those occupying the grounds.
He says they've now moved to a state of enforcement action and a total of 120 people have been arrested so far.
3:55pm - The police are holding a press conference at 4pm.
We are unable to livestream this, although this page will be updated with any new information from it as it comes to hand.
3:50pm - One person on the loudspeaker is now getting the crowd to chant "freedom".
The woman with the microphone, who says her name is Tina and she's from Napier, tells the crowd that "they've got this" and to keep going.
3:45pm - Police officers in Wellington are being praised for their "exemplary response" while dealing with angry anti-COVID vaccine mandate protesters refusing to leave Parliament grounds.
Tensions rose on Thursday morning after protesters were asked to remove their tents and leave Parliament's grounds.
Police officers then created a barricade to stop protesters from getting close to the Beehive.
Dozens of people have been arrested so far.
Social media users have been reacting to Thursday's developments, with many praising the police officers for their responses.
"The @nzpolice are doing an exemplary job of peaceful policing," one Twitter user said.
"We really need to add a [#thanksNZpolice] hashtag today, because the police are being so tolerant holding their line whilst having garbage yelled at them," another wrote.
3:30pm - Parking wardens have started issuing tickets to vehicles illegal parked around and near Parliament.
The wardens are being escorted around by police to protect them.
3:17pm - Tensions seem like they are calm for now. Music is continuing to be played in the background as it has been all day. One protester is speaking through a megaphone while the rest continue to hold the line against police.
3:01pm - About 10 police officers and paramedics have gone over to the opposite side of the lawn to where the protesters are gathered to treat a woman who is injured.
The woman is being taken away by police to receive medical treatment.
2:59pm - Retail NZ is calling for the protest at Parliament to "end quickly" to support retailers and businesses across Wellington.
"Retailers are into day three of disruptions, abuse and aggression due to the protestors," Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said.
"The Red Alert Level has already dropped sales by at least 30 per cent in the city - this protest has now brought sales down by at least 70 percent. The entire city is disrupted and businesses are on the knife edge.
"What New Zealanders are seeing on the grounds of Parliament is what retailers across the country unfortunately experience daily.
"Retail staff are abused, assaulted and harassed on the COVID-19 restrictions like the requirement to wear masks in store and use QR codes at significant levels across the country.
"At the same time, retailers face the same problem as Parliament - toothless trespass laws that provide no protection for their workers."
Harford said he understood everyone had the right to protest but is calling on authorities to end it quickly.
"Now Wellington is seeing another level of concentrated abuse, and impacts due to these protestors," he said.
"There are refusals to wear masks in stores, abuse to staff, and those close to Parliament having to close doors. We agree that we all have the right to protest in New Zealand, but this cannot come at the detriment to the surrounding community - authorities and Wellington City Council must take swift action to end this protest to protect businesses staff and operations."
Harford is worried once the protests end they will disperse into the city and disrupt businesses.
"We are significantly concerned that even once the protestors disperse from Parliament, they will then flow out into the streets and continue to impact retailers operations. Retailers' need to see a plan to end this protest, and then an additional plan to support operations in the wider streets in the coming days.
"It is time for authorities and the Wellington City Council to step up and support Wellington retailers, cafes and restaurants.
"Staff and business should feel safe and have the ability to operate without having to close doors, and take abuse. Put simply, its beyond belief that supporting business's in Wellington to be safe and operate is not a priority here."
"Staff and business should feel safe and have the ability to operate without having to close doors, and take abuse. Put simply, its beyond belief that supporting business's in Wellington to be safe and operate is not a priority here."
2:52pm - Currently, it's a stand-off between protesters and police as both hold their line.
2:41pm - Tensions remain high with protesters determined to hold their line. Police have made a couple of arrests in the last five minutes.
Protesters are chanting: "Hold that line".
2:31pm - Police have slightly moved their line forward and are holding protesters back who are attempting to stand their ground.
2:28pm - As police tried to remove the tent, some officers were dragged in with the protesters during the incident with some police staff having to get pulled out by their colleagues.
One officer has been taken away injured.
2:24pm - Police are trying to remove a large tent on the opposite side of parliament's lawns from where the protesters are gathered.
Protesters have gone over and grabbed the tent and are wrestling with police for it.
The protesters end up keeping the tent and police retreat.
2:07pm - The Ministry of Health has announced three new 'high risk' locations of interest.
The locations of interest are:
Des Traditions Restaurant Mt Roskill - Monday, 31 January from 11:40am to 10pm
My Thai Lounge Lounge Queenstown - Friday, 4 February from 7:30 pm to 8:30pm
Jetatar Flight JQ252 Wellington to Auckland - Monday, 7 February from 8:40am from 9:30am
The ministry said you are a close contact if you were seated in rows 13,14,15,16, and 17 of the Jetstar flight and if you were at the other locations during the exposure times.
The ministry ask those people to "self-isolate, test immediately and on day 5 after you were exposed at this location of interest. Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health".
For the relevant dates, times and public health advice - and updates to existing locations of interest - click here.
1:56pm - The Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins is reassuring residents the city is well placed to cope after confirmation of a positive case of COVID-19 in Queenstown.
Hawkins acknowledged it will be an unsettling time for many Southern residents, including in Dunedin.
"Our thoughts are with the people of Queenstown, but this news also means COVID-19 is one step closer to our city," he said.
"While the virus' return has always been inevitable, it's been a long time since the last community cases in the Southern District back in May 2020. The good news is that since then our collective efforts mean we're better placed to cope when it does reach us."
Queenstown's positive case is a timely reminder to everyone to keep following health guidelines - get boosted as soon as you're able to, scan in wherever you go, wear decent masks, and stay home if you're sick, Hawkins said.
"Now is also the time to make a plan for your household in terms of how you'd manage a period of self-isolation. You need to know how you'll get essential groceries and medicines, but now isn't the time to start stockpiling.
"Together, we will get through this."
1:51pm - A speaker at the protest tells the crowd to hold the line against police. "Think of your children, think of your grandchildren, remember why you're doing this," he said.
The situation seems to be calming down again.
1:46pm - The pushing and shoving have subsided for now but protesters are now in two groups on opposite ends of the parliament grounds.
1:42pm - It's starting to get heated again. The police moved their line forward, and police and protesters are now very close. One protester was arrested by officials.
1:40pm - Protesters have started surging and pushing again after police moved in and started removing tents on Parliament's lawn.
Protesters are chanting: "Shaming on you".
1:31pm - The ministry has not provided a regional update on Thursday. They have given an update on the southern region after Omicron was confirmed in the area:
A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Queenstown this morning. This is the first community case in the Southern DHB this outbreak. The case was notified after our cut off period so will be added to official figures tomorrow.
Investigations into any potential connections between this case and existing cases outside Southland is underway.
Any locations of interest will be published on the Ministry of Health website.
If you live in, or have visited, the Queenstown area recently please check this list which is regularly updated.
Anyone in the Queenstown area who has cold or flu like symptoms, even if they are mild and are vaccinated, or has been at a location of interest should get tested. Please stay home or at your accommodation until you return a negative COVID-19 test result, and you are symptom free.
Testing is available throughout the Southern district.
Drive through and walk in testing is available at two sites in Frankton:
- Engage Safety Covid-19 Testing Centre. Drive Through/Walk In - No Appointment Required. Open from 9am to 7pm. 18 Glenda Avenue, Frankton.
- Te Kāika Testing Centre. Drive Through/Walk In - No Appointment Required. Open 11am to 6pm. Pin Oak Ave, Frankton.
1:29pm - Here is the latest data from the Ministry of Health on the outbreak and vaccination campaign:
COVID-19 vaccine update
- Vaccines administered to date (percentage of eligible people): 4,049,971 first doses (96%); 3,977,640 second doses (95%); 1,723,253 booster doses (55%)
- Vaccines administered yesterday: 782 first doses; 1,568 second doses; 1,941 paediatric doses; 56,257 booster doses.
- Māori (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 515,311 first doses (90%); 490,772 second doses (86%).
- Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 278,549 first doses (97%); 271,263 second doses (95%).
- Paediatric vaccines administered to date (percentage of 5-11-year-olds): 204,727 first doses (43%)
- Māori (percentage of eligible people aged 5-11): 28,240 first doses (24%)
- Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people aged 5-11): 16,533 first doses (33%)
Vaccination rates for all DHBs (percentage of eligible people aged 12 +)
- Northland DHB: First doses (89.9%); second doses (87%)
- Auckland Metro DHBs: First doses (97%); second doses (96%)
- Waikato DHB: First doses (95%); second doses (93%)
- Bay of Plenty DHB: First doses (95%); second doses (93%)
- Lakes DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (91%)
- MidCentral DHB: First doses (97%); second doses (95%)
- Tairāwhiti DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (89.9%)
- Whanganui DHB: First doses (92%); second doses (89.8%)
- Hawke’s Bay: First doses (97%); second doses (94%)
- Taranaki DHB: First doses (95%); second doses (93%)
- Wairarapa DHB: First doses (96%); second doses (95%)
- Capital and Coast DHB: First doses (99%); second doses (97%)
- Hutt Valley DHB: First doses (97%); second doses (95%)
- Nelson Marlborough DHB: First doses (97%); second doses (95%)
- West Coast DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (91%)
- Canterbury DHB: First doses (99%); second doses (98%)
- South Canterbury DHB: First doses (95%); second doses (94%)
- Southern DHB: First doses (98%); second doses (96%)
- Cases in hospital: (12); North Shore: 1; Middlemore: 5; Auckland: 2; Rotorua: 1; Bay of Plenty: 1; Christchurch: 2.
- Average age of current hospitalisations: 55
- Cases in ICU or HDU: 0
- Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only): Unvaccinated or not eligible (N/A cases / 0%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (1 case / 12%); fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (7 cases / 88%)
- Seven day rolling average of community cases: 215
- Seven day rolling average of border cases: 35
- Number of new community cases: 306
- Location of new community cases*: Northland (12), Auckland (216), Waikato (48), Tairāwhiti (4), Bay of Plenty (7), Lakes (6), MidCentral (2), Taranaki (5), Hutt Valley (3); Capital and Coast (3).
- Number of new cases identified at the border: 30
- Location of origin of border cases: UAE (6), Australia (1), Fiji (2), India (6), Lebanon (3), Malaysia (5), Pakistan (2), Papua New Guinea (1), Qatar (2), Full travel history not yet obtained (2)
- Number of active cases (total): 2,470 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classified as recovered)
- Confirmed cases (total): 18,460
* Please note, the Ministry of Health’s daily reported cases may differ slightly from those reported at a DHB or local public health unit level.
This is because of different reporting cut off times and the assignment of cases between regions, for example when a case is tested outside their usual region of residence. Total numbers will always be the formal daily case tally as reported to the WHO.
- Number of tests total (last 24 hours): 27,425
- Tests rolling average (last 7 days): 18,443
- Number of Rapid Antigen Tests in New Zealand: 6,800,000
1:28pm - The ministry's Big Boost Week is now in full swing with 56,257 booster doses administered across New Zealand yesterday, bringing the total so far to more than 1.7 million.
"With Omicron in New Zealand, the best thing you can do is get your booster as soon as it is due," the ministry said.
"Boosters lower your chances of getting very sick and being hospitalised. It also helps slow the spread of the virus. That’s why it’s important to get your booster four months after your second dose - so if you’re over 18 and your booster is due, please get it now.
"As case numbers increase, we are putting in place changes to the way case numbers and other details are reported in our daily updates. Reporters in the Parliamentary Press Gallery have been consulted on these changes.
"We are reflecting these changes in the update today, however it’s important to reinforce that we still have the key figures included here, and available online, including New Zealand’s case numbers – by total, at the border, in the community and by DHB region. Vaccination results will also continue to be fully reported."
The ministry said for the public, as cases of Omicron continue to be identified around the country, it’s important New Zealanders are as ready as they can be if they contract the virus or come into contact with someone else who has the virus.
"Make sure you have your personal plans ready, and follow the key public health advice of getting vaccinated, boosted, tested (if you’re symptomatic) and masking up."
For more information on exactly what phases one and two mean and for information about the supports available in the different phases, please visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
1:26pm - The Ministry of Health has announced a record day of COVID-19 cases with 306 new infections and 12 people in hospital on Thursday.
Of the new community cases, 216 are in Auckland, 48 in Waikato, 12 in Northland, seven in Bay of Plenty, six in Lakes, five in Taranaki, four in Tairāwhiti, three in Hutt Valley (3), three in Capital and Coast and two in MidCentral.
The ministry announced there are 12 people in hospital with none. in ICU or HDU.
Of the 12 people in hospital: five in Middlemore, one is in North Shore, two in Auckland City, two in Christchurch, one in Rotorua, one in Bay of Plenty.
There are 30 new COVID cases recorded at the border in Managed Isolation and Quarantine.
1:04pm - While we wait for the ministry to announce Thursday's COVID-19 case numbers very shortly, the Ministry of Health has announced one new 'high risk' locations of interest in Gisborne
The location of interest is:
- Lonestar Gisborne - Sunday 06 February from 6:30pm to 9pm
The ministry asks anyone at LoneStar during the exposure time to "self-isolate, test immediately and on day 5 after you were exposed at this location of interest. Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health".
For the relevant dates, times and public health advice - and updates to existing locations of interest - click here.
12:55pm - Everything is calm at the protest outside Parliament. Protesters are dancing, playing music, while most are just standing facing police.
It seems like protesters are set in for the long haul.
12:47pm - Wellington City Council continues to remind protesters that anyone parked illegally will be ticketed.
The council said parking enforcement staff will be ticketing the large number of vehicles parked illegally on streets and footpaths in the vicinity of Parliament.
The Council’s chief customer and community fficer Kym Fell said parking services managers are in discussions with police about how staff can carry out their enforcement duties – recognising there is protest activity in and around Parliament.
Parking enforcement will start when Police and Council managers agree it is safe to do so.
12:45pm - Auckland Council has teamed up with Boosted NZ to announce the launch of new crowdfunding to support the creative sector in Auckland.
Boosted is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping artists of New Zealand connect with and grow their own generous giving communities.
The aim of the campaign known as, The Auckland Arts Comeback, is to build capacity and long-term sustainability in a sector of the Auckland community that has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19.
"The last two years have been so hard for everyone connected to the creative sector and it is fantastic to have a campaign that is going to support creative mahi and reach new Auckland audiences" - Auckland Councillor Alf Filipaina said.
12:40pm - As usual, the Ministry of Health will release its daily statement with the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak at around 1pm.
Stay tuned, as we will publish the newest developments live as soon as the statement is available.
12:30pm - We have just received this statement from Superintendent Corrie Parnell, the Wellington District Commander:
"Police continue to appeal to protestors to leave Parliament Grounds peacefully, as the area is closed to the public.
"It is disappointing that despite the grounds being officially closed to the public earlier today, a number of protesters are refusing repeated requests to leave the precinct.
"Police continue to take a measured approach, exercising their powers fairly and proportionately.
"We continue to acknowledge people’s rights to protest, however those who behave unlawfully will face arrest.
"As at 11.30am, Police have arrested more than 50 people.
"They face charges including trespass and obstruction, and will be bailed to appear in court.
"They will also be formally served trespass notices from Parliament Grounds.
"Police also appeal to the owners or drivers of vehicles unlawfully blocking streets surrounding Parliament grounds to remove them immediately, or face enforcement action.
"Wellingtonians have the right to conduct their lives and go about their business without the interference of ongoing unlawful activity.
"Additional resources will be deployed from around the country as long as is necessary to ensure public safety."
12:25pm - Off the back of news that there is a case of COVID-19 in Queenstown, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins is reassuring locals that the city is well placed to cope with the virus.
"While the virus’ return has always been inevitable, it's been a long time since the last community cases in the Southern District back in May 2020," he said.
"The good news is that since then our collective efforts mean we’re better placed to cope when it does reach us."
He encourages people to be boosted as soon as possible, scan in, wear decent masks and stay home if sick.
"Now is also the time to make a plan for your household in terms of how you’d manage a period of self-isolation. You need to know how you’ll get essential groceries and medicines, but now isn’t the time to start stockpiling."
12:05pm - There are three new locations of interest:
- Des Tradition Restaurant Mt Roskill, Auckland - Tuesday, February 1 between 11:40am and 10pm
- Des Tradition Restaurant, Mt Roskill, Auckland - Wednesday, February 2 between 11:40am and 10pm
- Skyline Gondola Queenstown - Saturday, February 5 between 3:30pm and 5:45pm
12pm - There is calm at the moment with no recent tussles between protesters and police. Police have slowly walked forward onto Parliament's lawn, moving the demonstrators back.
11:46am - The pushing and shoving between police and protesters have eased for now. One protester continues to talk through a megaphone while most others stand with their backs to the police.
11:32am - One protester on a megaphone can be heard saying: "Thank you for standing up for New Zealand" as tensions remain high.
More arrests have been made and paramedics are on the scene.
11:24am - Tensions remain very high as protesters shout "Shame on you" as more arrests are made.
Protesters continue to surge and push against police.
11:22am - The Wellington Mayor's office also confirmed that uniformed parking wardens will head out at some point on Thursday morning accompanied by police to ticket the cars outside Parliament.
11:20am - Police have made several arrests in the last couple of minutes as protesters continue to fight and push against police.
11:19am - A woman is pleading with police officers to join with them, saying "we're not violent" but police are showing no interest.
11:14am - Protesters have begun chanting "freedom".
Police have pulled one person out of the scrum and taken him away.
As police did that, protesters started booing.
11:12am - Protesters are continuing to push against the police but more officers have arrived to help them hold their ground.
Protesters continue to throw water on police.
11:10am - The Wellington Mayor's office have confirmed to Newshub that ticketing has started via photos and CCTV footage - no wardens are on the ground for safety.
11:08am - Police are holding their ground as protesters chant: "Let Them Go".
11:07am - People can be seen throwing water on police as protesters try to push their way through police.
11:06am - Tensions are flaring up again outside Parliament as protesters have started fighting against police again after a period of just singing and chanting.
Protesters are surging against police as officers hold their ground.
10:59am - Protesters have begun singing the national anthem while a woman on a megaphone says "police are not our enemy" and "we are not here to fight anyone, we here to be in unity as the people for freedom of choice."
She is encouraging people to link arms, saying it would be "powerful" and that we "need each other right now".
10:50am - Protesters have begun chanting: "What do we want? Freedom. When do we want it? Now?"
Some protesters have turned their back on police as they chant.
10:48am - When asked about the protest outside Parliament, Ardern said it's a police matter.
She said every New Zealander has the right to protest but reminded people that there are rules around what can happen on parliament's forecourt.
"Ultimately the decisions that have been made around the management of the protest that is an operational decision for the police," Arden said.
"They have the skills and expertise to deal with a situation like that and this is part of what they do. ultimately as I say, it's not unusual to have protest activity at parliament.
"It is part of our democracy but we do need to make sure we keep that balance between people being able to live their lives - particularly those who live or work in the Wellington region - so that is what the police are endeavouring to do."
10:47am - Ardern is urging Kiwis to go out and get boosted against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday the start of a national week of action called 'The Big Boost'.
This is where the ministry is making it as easy as possible to get your booster, with pop-up vaccination centres and extended opening hours.
Ardern told reporters from Auckland on Thursday that the best protection against Omicron when cases grow is a booster.
Ardern said if New Zealand has a low uptake of people getting their booster, it will likely see "significant pressure" on the health system.
10:40am - Tensions are still high and mainly it is just a face-off between police and protesters.
Police have just taken away two more protesters.
10:25am - Police are warning the public in Wellington to expect traffic delays around Parliament as protest activity continues on Thursday.
More than 100 additional Police staff have been called in, including from other districts, to support the operation.
10:22am - Tensions remain high on Parliament grounds as there continues to be a face-off between police and protesters.
Some protesters are sitting down on the ground, some are waving flags while others are playing music.
10:11am - In COVID news away from the protest, Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said the confirmation of an Omicron case in the city was a wake-up call for the community.
"Having been notified of the possibility of a case late last night, I want to uphold my commitment to the local community to make them aware at the earliest opportunity. Whilst we've all done great work in getting vaccination and booster numbers up and following CPF red setting practice, it's time to double down and keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy," said Mayor Boult.
Mayor Boult understood that the individual was cooperating with Ministry of Health officials to identify any locations of interest and close contacts.
"Obviously we wish the individual concerned well and encourage everyone to keep a watchful eye on the Ministry of Health website for any notified locations of interest in the district.
"This may feel confronting with our district having been free from COVID for so long, but we knew it was coming. Over the coming weeks and months, we are highly likely to see more cases pop up, so have a chat to your household about what you would do in case you had to isolate at home. Do you have enough groceries, pet food and medication, or do you have someone who can drop supplies at your door?"
10:08am - Protesters are continuing to shout at police with one person saying: "Everyone knows what has happened to my child" while another person shouted a message saying children should be banned from getting the vaccine.
10:02am - Tensions are still high but the scuffle between protesters and police has subsided for now. Currently, there is a standoff between the two groups.
9:59am - As reported earlier, Backbencher Gastropub will close for the rest of the week as 'threatening' anti-vaccine mandate protest causes chaos.
Dozens of people have been arrested on Thursday after a standoff with police on Parliament's forecourt. Demonstrators swarmed the site on Tuesday - many having travelled from across New Zealand as part of a protest convoy - and have been camped there since. On Wednesday, police began instructing them to leave or risk being trespassed.
Read the full story here.
9:56am - Tensions remain incredibly high. There have been reports that officers have been punched, kicked and had water thrown on them.
Police on megaphones are continuing to urge protesters to leave Parliament grounds or risk being arrested.
9:52am - Protesters away from the scrum/stand-off with police can be seen packing up their tents.
In the background, the national anthem is being played.
9:51am - Police have said they have trespassed all protesters at Parliament after the Speaker of the House closed the grounds on Thursday morning.
"Police have appealed repeatedly to protestors to leave the grounds and have begun evicting people from the precinct," Superintendent Corrie Parnell, Wellington District Commander said.
"While Police acknowledges people’s right to protest, this needs to be conducted in a way that do not unfairly impact on the wider public.
"More than 100 additional Police staff have been called in, including from other districts, to support the operation.
"The public should continue to expect traffic delays and are asked to avoid the area, if possible."
9:47am - Tensions are increasing again as a big scuffle is breaking out between police and protesters as neither side budges.
9:45am - Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard watches on as police ramp up arrests.
9:43am - Police continue to make arrests as protesters are now surging against the police.
You can hear in the background some protesters have started doing a haka.
9:39am - Since the face-off between police and protesters began about an hour ago, officers have slowly made their way about 10 to 15 metres forward.
9:37am - Change of tack from the Convoy 2022 organisers with protesters now being told to walk away towards the road.
Convoy organisers are now asking protesters to "back away".
9:34am - We have a live stream of all the action from Parliament. Watch above to see it live. Please be advised we have audio on so there could be some language that offends.
9:30am - Convoy 2022 organisers on Telegram are telling protesters to sit down and link arms.
9:28am - Police are continuing to edge their way forward as they try to shift protesters off Parliament grounds.
About a dozen tasers have now been handed to police officers while they continue with repeated calls for the protesters to leave Parliament grounds while pulling protesters out of the scrum.
9:26am - So far dozens of protesters have been taken away by police in handcuffs.
9:24am - Protesters are shouting "freedom" as more arrests are made by police.
9:19am - Police are continuing to speak through a megaphone saying: "Parliament is closed to the public. If you remain you're trespassing and could be arrested".
Arrests continue to be made as protesters clash with police.
Portesters continue to play music in the background.
9:14am - Police continue to arrest protesters. Tensions remain very high.
9:07am - Protesters are linking arms to make it harder for police to pull them away.
9:05am - Tensions are continuing to escalate as police make more arrests as they try to clear the parliament grounds.
9am - So far at least eight people have been taken away by the police
8:58am - Police can be heard on a megaphone saying: "please move back or you may be arrested".
8:54am - Police continue to arrest people as the crowd chants: "Shame on you" at police.
8:51am - Here is Wellington Mayor Andy Foster's interview on AM on Thursday morning where he talked about the ongoing situation outside Parliament.
8:49am - Police continue to arrest protesters. This time a man has been arrested and taken away by police.
8:44am - Wellington Mayor Andy Foster told AM on Thursday he has advised police that they "would like their streets back".
"We are in regular discussion with police and we see this as something they need to take the lead on - they are the lead agency," Foster told AM.
"We would like our streets back, we would like the grounds of Parliament back so it can get on with its normal daily businesses. I think the protesters have made their point.
"We have protests all the time in Wellington, I mean it's the nature of being in a capital city but most of the time they march through the city from Civic Square to Parliament, make their point and then go. So this is quite different and obviously, we want to see it resolved as quickly as possible and safely."
Foster said the council is in continuous dialogue with police on how to deal with the situation outside Parliament.
"We are in regular discussion with police about how this can be dealt with. Obviously, there are a lot of people there and it's a potentially volatile situation so it's got to be dealt with carefully, thoughtfully and with good risk management," he said.
When asked whether the protest could get violent, Foster said: "Look who knows. I've been down there to get the lay of the land a few times and most people are perfectly fine but it is clear there is potential volatility there."
He said Molesworth Street is still blocked to traffic.
"There are a small number of businesses [not opening] in that immediate vicinity and obviously for them, this is the last thing they need. Life is tough enough anyway with all the COVID restrictions and that's one of the reasons we want this resolved as quickly as we can.
"The Government is in discussion with police but the police have to make the operational decisions."
8:40am - Police can be heard saying on megaphone: "Parliament grounds are now closed to the public. Anyone remaining is trespassing. Please leave now."
Police have also taken another woman away in handcuffs.
8:37am - The bar across the road from Parliament has announced they will be closed for the rest of the week due to protest activity.
The Backbenchers bar and restaurant released a statement on their Facebook page alerting customers to the news.
8:34am - A woman has just been taken away by police. She had no top on so officers gave her one.
8:32am - Protesters have just started chanting "freedom" as the face-off with police continues.
8:30am - Tensions are growing down at Parliament but the situation currently remains under control. People can be seen dancing, some are talking to police while one woman shouted "we will not leave".
8:27am - More crowds of protesters are gathering. They have been blocked off from Parliament’s forecourt with barriers. Protesters are playing music while continuous tooting can be heard in the background.
8:25am - Here is a tweet and a photo showing the stand-off between police and protesters.
8:20am - The protests remain peaceful at the moment as police tell protesters to move on but people are shouting back at officers.
8:15am - There are still a lot of tents up around Parliament, while three lines of police have come out on the western side of Parliament grounds near the vehicle entrance.
8:12am - Police are currently trying to move the protesters on from Parliament.
8:06am - Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has admitted authorities are not in control of the situation outside Parliament.
Foster told Newstalk ZB on Thursday it's a police operation and they are getting advice from them on how to deal with the situation.
"It's a problem for our city that it affects people's ability to get around, some of our citizens have been abused and has affected some of our businesses, so that is an issue for us, as an operation though it is very much police-led," he said.
"Some people say we could just march in there and issue a few tickets but 'A' that doesn't move any vehicles and 'B' we can clearly see the volatile situation that we could end up with so staff could end up putting themselves in danger."
Foster doesn't believe the Council has been scared into submission by the protesters, reiterating it was a police-led matter.
He said it wasn't as simple as just walking in there and kicking them out as protesters could turn aggressive at any point.
"Obviously you have a lot of people down there and we have to work out very carefully how this can be best resolved and make sure it's done without anyone getting hurt," Foster said.
"We want to get ourselves back to a situation where the city and people can go about doing their normal business, so from my perspective, the protesters have made their point.
"This is quite an unusual protest, normally people march through Lambton Quay and do their protest and off they go, so I don't think we have seen anything remotely like this and they have made their point and I think they need to pack up and go away."
Foster wanted to remind people the council didn't have a "private army" to help deal with the situation so they're taking guidance from the police.
"I think some people think we have a private army that can just walk in, we don't and that's why we have to work with police to try resolve this," he told Newstalk ZB.
"We are not fully in control of the situation. We've got several hundred protesters, I'm not quite sure how many, and work with the authorities and with police guidance on how to resolve this."
7:43am - Wellingtonians are getting sick of the disruption caused to the city, with protesters blocking Molesworth Street with their vehicles parked in the middle of the road.
A pub across the street from Parliament was forced to close on Wednesday after protesters intimidated staff.
"They started calling us Nazis and just general abuse. We've had foreshore and seabed marches, every march you can imagine, and we've never been in that situation," Alistair Boyce of Backbencher Gastropub told Newshub on Wednesday.
A high-school student was verbally abused by protesters on Wednesday as she tried to get home from school.
Bridget McKenzie, 16, was stranded at her school after bus services were cancelled. She says protesters mocked her.
"They were like, 'Oh you can't get home, shame, you'll be here for weeks unless you walk'. They kind of just mocked and laughed at us," she says.
Her mum, Elizabeth Parsons, wants to know why police and Wellington Council didn't step in on Tuesday.
"We've had protests before. Why were they not prepared and why were they not protecting the safety of us vulnerable people who catch the buses?"
7:33am - Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak for Thursday, February 10.