Restore Passenger Rail protesters delay Wellington traffic again

  • Updated
  • 05/05/2023

Restore Passenger Rail activists have again delayed traffic in Wellington after forcing the closure of a major highway to traffic heading south.

It's the latest in the string of stunts by the group calling on the Government to reinstate nationwide rail networks to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The group has previously sat on busy roading networks to block traffic, and also glued themselves to roads.

On Friday, Newshub footage showed activists on a gantry above State Highway 1 near Johnsonville.

Police officers could be seen blocking the lane directly below the gantry.

"Our response today is proportionate to the crisis we face," the movement said in a statement.

The NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi had warned commuters to expect delays after the earlier closure of SH1's southbound lanes, which had since reopened.

"Two people have been taken into custody following protest action on the Johnsonville motorway this morning," a police statement said.

"A 48-year-old female scaled the gantry above the motorway and has now safely come down with assistance of attending police... A 45-year-old male who did not scale the gantry has also been arrested."

They were expected to appear in court on Friday, police said.

After weeks of protests which have delayed commuters and the Prime Minister has labelled "simply idiotic", Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau this week blasted the protesters - saying their tactics had gone "too far".