As it happened: Te Pāti Māori protests new Government's policies nationwide

Protesters hit the streets around the country this morning in a nationwide day of action, supported by Te Pāti Māori.

Te Pāti Māori called for protests against the new government's policies on co-governance and the Treaty.

The protests, which coincided with the opening day of Parliament on Tuesday, caused significant travel disruption on key highways across New Zealand.

The protests happened in Whangārei, Auckland, Hampton Downs, Rangiriri, Ohinewai, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Gisborne, Hastings, Palmerston North, Hawera, New Plymouth, Tokoroa, Porirua, Masterton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Te Pāti Māori said Tuesday's demonstrations are the first of "many activations" to come.

"We will learn from this first hit out and get better and better," Te Pāti Māori said.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said Te Pāti Māori is free to activate their supporters as long as demonstrations remain lawful and respectful.

However, he did criticise some of the "inappropriate" language and imagery being used by the party such as accusations of genocide and "state-sponsored terrorism".

Meanwhile, the Green Party has supported the demonstrations, calling the Government's 100-day plan a "legislative assault" that seeks to undo decades of progress for Māori.

ACT's David Seymour has called it a "sad day" when a political party protests what he calls equal rights. He said Te Pāti Māori doesn't respect democracy and New Zealanders voted for respectful debate on the constitutional future of our country.

These live updates have now ended.

10:25am - The traffic is clearing as the protests draw to a close in the major cities.

Waka Kotahi said the state highway network is largely returning to normal following the conclusion of protest action this morning.

Auckland Transport said there was only minimal impact on public transport with bus services experiencing up to 8-minute delays at the peak of the protest period.

The most significant impact was experienced on State Highway 1 south of Auckland where protest action stopped traffic in both directions at Rangiriri for around 20 minutes earlier on Tuesday morning.

There was also widespread congestion around Tauranga, where protests reduced SH2 Hewletts Road to one lane.

There may still be delays in certain areas throughout the morning as traffic congestion clears.  Waka Kotahi will continue to monitor the network throughout the day.

10:06am - Te Pāti Māori said today's demonstrations are the first of "many activations" to come.

"We will learn from this first hit out and get better and better," the party said.

Co-leader Rawiri Waititi told Stuff further demonstrations would follow after discussions and wānanga across the country.

He said the turnout of thousands of people, on late notice, showed the National-led coalition would be a "one-term government".

9:55am - Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said his government wants to see improved outcomes for Māori.

In response to questions on the protest, he said his Government has been in for seven days today and is determined to make sure Māori will do better under his Government than they did in six years under Labour.

"Te Pāti Māori are free to activate their supporters as long as they have a process that's lawful and respectful," Luxon said.

However, Luxon said some of the imagery and language Te Pāti Māori is using is "entirely inappropriate". Te Pāti Māori has used images of two guns in their protest messaging, accused the Government of "systemic genocide" and called the new Government's actions "state-sponsored terrorism".

Luxon spoke to media on Tuesday.
Luxon spoke to media on Tuesday. Photo credit: Newshub.

9:20am - The Green Party is urging the Government to recognise its commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The party said it hears the pain and call to action of whānau across the motu, and remains committed to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi, affirming the tino rangatiratanga of whānau, hapū, and iwi over their whenua and taonga.

"The incoming government's 100-day plan is a legislative assault that seeks to undo decades of progress for te reo Māori and Māori health, while undermining our nation's foundational document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi," Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson said.

"The government's plan to disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora - The Māori Health Authority, remove te reo Māori from all official documents, and diminish ambitions for Smokefree 2025 will have devastating impacts on the health and well-being of tangata whenua.

"We will not remain silent while this visionless government threatens to condemn Māori to poverty and poor health outcomes on our own whenua."

9:12am - ACT Party leader and future deputy prime minister David Seymour said the protesters are "on the wrong side of history".

"This morning protestors backed by Te Pāti Māori have attempted to block roads and disrupt the opening of Parliament and New Zealander’s lives just because they’re unhappy with the election result," Seymour said.

"It's a sad day when a political party is protesting equal rights. They're on the wrong side of history. New Zealanders want a respectful debate on the constitutional future of our country and that's what they've voted for."

Seymour added ACT's Treaty Principles Bill and proposed referendum, which was being protested against, are needed to ensure a "healthy debate on whether our future lies with co-government and different rights based on ancestry, or whether we want to be a modern, multi-ethnic liberal democracy where every New Zealander has the same rights".

"Te Pāti Māori doesn't respect democracy in New Zealand… The sooner Te Pāti Māori come to terms with what New Zealand voted for, and started providing some policy solutions that will help people instead of divisive theatrics that cause more division, the better," Seymour said.

He said ACT supports the right to protest but that doesn't mean stopping Kiwis from getting to work and disrupting democratic processes.

9:00am - An update from Waka Kotahi:

8:45am - Protesters in some locations across New Zealand have started to disperse, following the large gatherings this morning.

Police said in Tāmaki Makaurau, officers are continuing to monitor groups in various locations across the motorway network.

"While there has been traffic disruption, the protests have been peaceful and there have been no arrests," a police spokesperson said.

There may continue to be delays for motorists as traffic congestion clears.

8:30am - A traffic update from Waka Kotahi:

Approximate length of delays as of 8.15am

Bombay to Tauranga – 37 minutes longer than usual

Pokeno to Drury – 34 minutes longer than usual

Bombay to Manakau – 29 minutes longer than usual

SH18 Squadron Drive to Hobsonville – 24 minutes longer than usual

Albany to Queen St – 18 minutes longer than usual

Westgate to Henderson – 17 minutes longer than usual

8:26am - Protesters are starting to leave Parliament.

8:24am - An update from police:

A number of planned protests are now under way in various locations across New Zealand.

There are large gatherings in Tāmaki Makaurau and central Wellington, along with a number of other cities and towns.

As expected, some of the gatherings are impacting on traffic across our roading networks.

Auckland motorists are advised there are heavy delays on parts of the motorway network this morning.

Police are monitoring heavy traffic heading northbound on State Highway 1 south of Ramarama.

Meanwhile, out west there is also heavy traffic heading city bound on State Highway 16 near Royal Road.

Delays are also expected on the Upper Harbour Highway ahead of the connection with State Highway 16.

There have been no arrests so far.

8:00am - Protesters have arrived at Parliament.

An AM reporter at the scene said there are around 1000 protesters at Parliament of all ages and it has been "largely peaceful".

As it happened: Te Pāti Māori protests new Government's policies nationwide
Photo credit: Newshub.

7:52am - Protesters have began marching to Parliament in Wellington.

As it happened: Te Pāti Māori protests new Government's policies nationwide
Photo credit: Newshub.

7:50am - Here is the list of protest locations:

Whangarei: New World Regent, 167 Bank St. 7am.

Auckland: Palmers Albany Garden Centre, Hugh Green Dr and Greville Rd. 7am. Washworld Pod, Hobsonville, Hobsonville and Brigham Creek Rds. 7am. BP Bombay, Mill Rd. 7am.

Hampton Downs: 20 Hampton Downs Rd. 7am.

Rangiriri: 10 Talbot St. 6am.

Ohinewai: Ohinewai Hall, 1 Lilley Ln. 7am.

Hamilton: Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Rd. Te Kohao Health, 951 Wairere Dr.
The Base, Te Rapa Rd. Braemar Hospital intersection, Ohaupo Rd. Killarney and Kahikatea Rds. Five Cross Rds roundabout, Enderly. The Wayward Pigeon, 2 Gordonton Rd, Chartwell. Founders Theatre, King St and Norton Rd.

Rotorua: Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Queens Dr. 7am.

Tauranga: Whareroa Reserve, Taiaho Pl, Mount Maunganui. 6.30am.

Gisborne: Heipipi (Endeavour) Park, Gladstone Rd and Customhouse St. 7am.

Hastings: Hastings Clock Tower, Russell St South. 7.30am.

Palmerston North: Skoglund Park, Thames St. 7.15am.

Hawera: Town Square, 9 Union St. 7am.

New Plymouth: Cobb and Co, 198 Courtney St. 7am.

Tokoroa: Tokoroa Youth Park, Roslin St. 7am.

Porirua: North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Rd. 7am.

Masterton: The Farriers Bar and Eatery, 3 Queen St. 9am.

Wellington: Aurora Terrace bridge. 7am.

Christchurch: Bridge of Remembrance, Cashel St. 5.30pm.

7:48am - NZ First MP Shane Jones joined AM where he said he had not spoken to any Te Pāti Māori members ahead of the protests.

"At the end of the day we're professional politicians and I'm just very disappointed that they are trampling on democracy and I really want them not only to keep the knowledge of our te reo in tact, but also to learn a Greek word, and that word is democracy and our matuas from the Māori battalion actually fought in Greece to uphold amongst other things the tenets of democracy," he said.

"Today the Māori Party seem to believe that democracy doesn't count for anything."

In response to Te Pāti Māori's comments that the Government's policies are racist and "state-sponsored terrorism", Jones said that is deeply objectionable.

He also took aim at the use of guns in advertisements for the protest.

"That particular advertisement is not only very dangerous in light of the spread of the gangs in the Māori community, but I feel they’ve been given a cultural pass for far too long," Jones said.

"The media have been afraid to take them on and point out that these excesses are foreign to the political culture of New Zealand. Well, they've met their day in myself and my leader Winston Peters."

7:36am - Waka Kotahi has advised people of delays due to protests at Northbound lanes in Bombay, Southbound lanes Ginreville Rd and Eastbound Brigham Creek.

7:32am - Around 500 protesters have gathered at Whareroa Reserve in Tauranga as they prepare to convey down Hewletts Rd/State Highway 2.

7:28am - Police said they are highly visible on the roading network as a number of planned protests get underway this morning.

"Police recognise the right to peaceful protest and will be reminding protestors about lawful behaviour on our roads," a spokesperson said.

Motorists should expect delays and plan their travel accordingly.

Police will be proactively issuing updates throughout the morning.

7:25am - Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi is at Aurora Terrace bridge in Wellington where he said a couple of hundred people have turned up.

"This is about our activation, this is about our people coming together, this is about Aotearoa coming together," Waititi told AM.

"We don't need divisive policies, what we need is progressive policies. Policies that lift people out from poverty, policies that allow people to be able to live with some dignity. It's about closing the mortality rates between Māori and non-Māori. It's about ensuring that we're not incarcerating more of our people.

"This is about us standing up to say there is a better way and Aotearoa is ready for an Aotearoa Hou."

Waititi challenged Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and the Government to come out and speak to the protests.

"Come and have a listen to the people. Come and be a part of something positive," he said.

7:00am - Protesters are gathered in Auckland's Albany, Hobsonville and Bombay with their flags and signs.

Protesters at Palmers, Albany.
Protesters at Palmers, Albany. Photo credit: Newshub.

6:52am - Police said they will be highly visible across all networks in New Zealand today and have put measures in place to take action against any unlawful activity if it occurs.

Superintendent Sandra Venables told AM if it is not appropriate to take action against any unlawful activity, police will be following up in the days following.

She advised the public to prepare for travel delays.

6:40am – Protesters are starting to gather across the country. In Wellington, protesters have arrived with banners at Aurora Terrace bridge above State Highway 1.

Protesters gather in Wellington.
Protesters gather in Wellington. Photo credit: Newshub.

Kia ora, good morning and welcome to Newshub's live updates of Te Pāti Māori'-led protest called 'Nationwide Action Day'.