Speaker Trevor Mallard 'weeding out the weed' after suspected cannabis plants sprout on Parliament grounds

Speaker Trevor Mallard 'weeding out the weed' after suspected cannabis plants sprout on Parliament grounds
Photo credit: Twitter / @ethanjmanera

Suspected cannabis plants have sprouted after being planted on Parliament's grounds.

Images posted to Twitter on Thursday show small, green, leafy plants growing out of the bark in a garden on the forecourt.

The suspicious plants caught the attention of Speaker Trevor Mallard, whose only response to the situation was "we are weeding out the weed".

It hasn't been confirmed if the plants are indeed cannabis but Dakta Green, founder of New Zealand's first cannabis club The Daktory, said it's possible.

"From the photo, it appears green fairies have been sprinkling peace and love. Closer inspection required for [a] definitive answer," Green tweeted in response to the photos.

Parliament staff have since destroyed the plants, the NZ Herald reported.

Possession and cultivating cannabis remains illegal in New Zealand. A referendum at the 2020 election to legalise the drug was unsuccessful.

It's possible the greenery was left behind by the anti-mandate protesters, who occupied Parliament for 23 days during February and March.

Another protest is planned and due to begin on Friday. A metal fence now surrounds the perimeter of Parliament's grounds and there are increased security measures in the area.

"Given the hostility we have seen in recent times, measures will be in place regardless to ensure the safety and security of all those on precinct," Parliamentary services chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said.

Parliamentary staff were being encouraged by the police to work from home until further notice. 

Police said additional officers have been called into the Wellington district to assist with the planned protest. 

A group called NZUnite announced the 14-day protest will begin on Friday. They said they plan on holding a different protest event each day and plan to "build and peak" in numbers.

The group said they have several matters they will protest against including misinformation, the COVID-19 Response Act and "police brutality".