Jacinda Ardern surveys damage to Parliament grounds as police confirm pepper spray, foam bullets used during clash

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has surveyed the damage to Parliament grounds caused by anti-mandate protesters. 

Agencies have begun the job of assessing the cost and the causes of the 23-day occupation and police have confirmed they used pepper spray and foam bullets in their clash with protesters on Wednesday. 

Surveying the wreckage, the Prime Minister on Thursday looked over what was the people's lawn - but now the protesters' wasteland. 

"It looks a lot like a dump," she said. 

After the dust settled on Parliament's ugliest day and excavators rolled in to clear the rubble, politicians checked in on the damage, even lending a helping hand, with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson explaining he was "removing the last of the signs". 

It was a confronting sight after a confronting fight.

"I've been quite upset about the playground," Ardern said during her assessment of the grounds. 

The children's playground, one of the victims of the firestarters, actually looks nearly picture-perfect. But after all of this, is New Zealand going to be OK?

"What we saw was very confronting for us as a country," Ardern said. "It felt like a form of protest and violence that we're not used to experiencing here."

There will be many reviews into both the protest and the response, but also the undercurrent of misinformation that led to it. 

"We need to collectively tackle mis- and disinformation because we are all the poorer for it as a nation if this continues," Ardern said. 

Protestors have even been spreading disinformation about their riot, claiming police started the fires. Video footage shows otherwise. 

In total, 600 police were involved in taking back the streets of Wellington, with 40 injured and eight hospitalised. 

"This ranges from bumps, bruises, lacerations, to bone fractures, head injuries and chest injuries," said Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Chambers.

Police weren't the only ones injured though. There is no tally for how many protesters were hurt but one elderly man was punched in the face by a police officer before tumbling backward to the ground. 

"The force used by police was proportionate but we will certainly look at any situation that suggests otherwise," Chambers said. 

Aside from brute force, police also blasted pepper spray, used fire extinguishers and sponge guns.

Chambers said it was "entirely appropriate given the circumstances we were dealing with yesterday". 

They were up against an angry violent mob with no regard for police. Video footage showed a car driving backwards into a line of police. It was just one of the terrifying situations police faced. 

"It was quite scary, yeah," one officer said to the Prime Minister during her assessment. 

Politicians all back the police actions.