Council warns Freedom and Rights Coalition of enforcement action if weekend protest goes ahead

By Jake McKee of RNZ

The Freedom and Rights Coalition has been warned it could face enforcement action if it goes ahead with an event at Auckland Domain this weekend.

As of Tuesday night, the Brian Tamaki-associated protest group had not sought permission from Auckland Council for its "Kiwi Patriot Day and March", which is set to be held on Saturday.

It comes two weeks after a similar protest that ultimately spilled onto a motorway and closed it to traffic.

Social media posts advertise things like live music, food trucks and a farmers market - activities the council said required a permit under its Public Trading, Events and Filming Bylaw 2022.

The coalition's social media also stated there would be a "new umbrella political party announcement".

Auckland Council director of customer and community services Claudia Wyss sent a letter to the coalition on Tuesday, which RNZ has obtained.

Wyss warned event and trade permits would be needed for the group's plans to "lawfully proceed" because the council did not consider it fell within the bylaw's exemptions.

It remained, as of Tuesday night, that no permit applications had been made, the council confirmed to RNZ.

Wyss also warned the organisers the council could seek costs to repair any damage.

Brian Tamaki speaking to protesters last month.
Brian Tamaki speaking to protesters last month. Photo credit: Newshub.

"We place you on notice that should there be any damage to Auckland Council property caused by vendors, event attendees or vehicles driving or parking on grassed areas of the domain, we will consider the organisers to be responsible for such damage, given that this is a foreseeable outcome of the gathering."

The council would be coning off the Cenotaph and Court of Honour, in front of the Auckland War Museum, because it was consecrated ground.

In a statement, Wyss told RNZ the council respected people's right to peaceful protest but it had some concerns "that the proposed activity could result in damage to the domain, interruption of public enjoyment, prevent access to the Auckland Museum and disrupt scheduled sporting activities".

"The council also has a concern with regard to the health risks of the proposed event, given the high level of COVID-19 in the community," Wyss said.

A police spokesperson said it had communicated with organisers to "discuss potential routes and plans".

"We will monitor and respond to the situation accordingly, to ensure public safety and to make sure any disruption to the public is kept to a minimum."

Police did not answer questions about the ongoing nature of the group's protests. The spokesperson confirmed enquiries are still ongoing and no charges have been laid, after a march on July 23 saw about 1000 protesters disrupt traffic by marching onto Auckland's Southern Motorway.

The coalition has been approached for comment.