COVID-19: Police warn they now have 'towing capability' for anti-vaccine mandate protesters' cars

The Assistant Police Commissioner says about a dozen cars belonging to anti-COVID vaccine mandate protesters have been moved from the blocked streets of Wellington.

But despite police promises on Tuesday to tow illegally parked vehicles from the streets surrounding the Beehive, the majority had still not taken up the offer to move their cars to the city's Sky Stadium and park them there for free.

Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers says they've now secured towing capabilities for illegally parked vehicles should they be required, after Commissioner Andrew Coster threatened to tow cars on Tuesday - despite not having any towing companies on board. 

The now-secured towing companies would help police resolve the situation, Asst Cmmr Chambers said.

"We have secured towing capability and we are thankful to those operators for their cooperation with us and coming to support the situation here [that] we are wanting to resolve," Asst Cmmr Chambers told reporters on Wednesday.

He insists they made good progress with protest leaders on Wednesday and said police would continue engaging with them.

"This is a big task ahead of us and it is a specialist one. We're very grateful for the [towing] operators around New Zealand have shown that willingness to work with us."

The operation to unblock the roads was in the best interests of Wellington residents, Asst Cmmr Chambers said.

"Vehicles that continue to be parked illegally are at risk of being towed and seized."

Asked when the towing capability would be put into action, Asst Cmmr Chambers said "we are mindful of tactics needing to be carefully thought through so the situation is not escalated".

"We are cautiously stepping through what options that we've got to prevent an escalation, to get that peaceful resolution - whilst also acknowledging the lawful right to protest."

About 12 illegally-parked vehicles being moved voluntarily on Wednesday was "really encouraging", Asst Cmmr Chambers said.

"We want a peaceful resolution for everybody but, ultimately, our first goal is… to clear the roads so that the people of Wellington can go about their business without obstructions."

ACT Party leader David Seymour said on Wednesday he met with a protest "intermediary" on Wednesday - the first sitting politician to do so. He said he delivered conditions of engagement including removing vehicles blocking the roads around Parliament and Victoria University and a guarantee no more abuse would be hurled at passersby.

Other politicians - both in the Government and Opposition - have refused to engage with the protesters, who have now been occupying Parliament's grounds for nearly nine days.

The protest appears to be a copycat of demonstrations in Canada against COVID-19 vaccine requirements for truckers to re-enter the country by land, introduced by Canadian authorities last month.