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Home / Parliament Protest Review

Parliamant Protest Review

Background

The following is a brief summary of the protest at Parliament grounds in February and March 2022.  It is not indicative of any commentary in our final report.

On Sunday 6 February 2022 protestors began to make their way to Parliament grounds in Wellington. About 100 protestors were in attendance by Tuesday 8 February, but numbers grew to about 3,000 over the following weeks.

Initially, the majority of the group protested about Government mandates covering mask wearing and vaccinations as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, over time, they were joined by others supporting a range of issues not related to the pandemic.

Tents and other amenities were erected on Parliament grounds, while surrounding streets were blocked with vehicles. Some nearby schools and businesses had to temporarily close.

The protest lasted 23 days.

On Wednesday 2 March 2022, Police started an operation to remove protestors and their vehicles. 

The IPCA received its first complaint regarding Police conduct at the protest on 10 February 2022.  As at August 2022, the IPCA has received nearly 2,000 complaints in relation to policing of the Parliament protest.

The Government has provided the IPCA an additional $3.5million in funding to conduct an investigation and review of policing at the protest.

Scope of the Parliament Protest Investigation and Review

You can read the full Scope of the Investigation and Review here.

Purpose

Our review of the policing of the Parliament Protest in Wellington in February and March 2022 will provide complainants, Police, and the people of Aotearoa with an independent assessment of Police activities throughout the protest. 

We will look at the information Police had, the decisions they took, the tactics used, and whether the approach taken to policing throughout the Protest was lawful, proportionate, and appropriate.

Why have an investigation and review?

The Parliament Protests were an unprecedented event in New Zealand and represented one of the most significant policing challenges in recent years. It was, and continues to be, the subject of intensive media coverage and commentary.

It has resulted in the most complaints ever received by the IPCA for a single event with nearly 2,000 complaints to date.

Given the unprecedented nature of the Protest and the public debate and scrutiny, it is appropriate the IPCA, as the oversight body, undertakes an independent investigation and review of Police actions.  

What will the Review look at?

Our review focuses on two areas:

Protest at Parliament

  1. Police management of intelligence as it related to the Protest, including consideration of the intelligence available to Police, the sufficiency of that intelligence, and how it was assessed and informed decision making prior to and throughout the course of the Protest.
  2. Police engagement with iwi, protesters, local businesses, the Courts and other stakeholders.
  3. Police engagement with local and national agencies where Police and those agencies needed to work together to develop and execute operational plans.
  4. Police engagement at local and national government levels with those holding decision rights and responsibilities, including public and private sector actors whose actions materially influenced or impacted on Police decision making.
  5. Police planning and preparation of its response to the Protest. This includes staff selection, training, operational guidance, equipment, and technology provided to officers who policed the Protest.
  6. Police command and control, decision-making processes, and operational execution (including tactics used and timeliness of tactics).
  7. The powers used to keep the peace, maintain public safety, enforce the law, and provide community support and reassurance, and the tactical exercise of those powers. It also includes how Police balanced the rights of protesters with the rights of other people throughout the course of the Protest.
  8. Any other decisions, acts, omissions, conduct, policy, practice, or procedure issues arising out of 1- 7 above.

Complaints

We’ve received nearly 2,000 complaints to date.  Many are from individuals who were not present at the Protest but concerned about Police actions or inactions. Some are from individuals who were physically present and made complaints about specific or more general Police activities, such as the lawfulness of their powers, use of force, or particular tactics and treatment in custody.

In relation to the complaints received, the Review will:

  1. Assess and triage each complaint to determine themes and issues arising.
  2. Determine how complaints will be dealt with in accordance with section 17 of the Act and in particular which complaints require independent investigation by the IPCA and which complaints identify issues which will inform the review.
  3. Advise all complainants of how their complaint will be dealt with and what further contact, if any, they will receive from the IPCA.
  4. Undertake independent investigations if required.

What won’t the Review look at?

The Review will not look at:

  • Policing of any other protests around New Zealand during February and March 2022, or since.
  • The spread of misinformation/disinformation on social media, and other digital platforms, and how that influences people’s behaviour unless social media posts are shown to have influenced Police plans and actions.
  • The political or socio-economic motivation of any complainant or group of complainants.
  • Complaints relating to Police actions at any other protest sites. These will be managed as part of the usual IPCA complaint process.

How to make a complaint about Police conduct at the Parliament Protest

If you have yet to make a complaint about Police conduct at the Parliament Protest but would like this to be considered as part of the project, please complete this online complaint form.

You have until Friday 16 September to make a complaint. 

For all other complaints about Police conduct visit our Complaints Page

You can find out more about what you can complain about here.

How to provide information to the Parliament Protest Project

If you have information you believe may help us with our inquiries, in particular digital images, cell phone or video footage, or CCTV coverage showing Police activities at the Parliament Protest, we would like to hear from you.

We are specifically looking for footage which shows Police actions at the protest.  This could include, for example, significant events where members of the public were reacting to the actions of Police.

We’re reviewing the Policing response throughout the entirety of the protest so would be interested in any footage during that time. 

There are a few conditions that need to be met in order for us to accept any video footage:

  • You will need to verify that you filmed the footage yourself.
  • You must be the owner of the footage.
  • You must have been present at the protest at the time the footage was filmed.

If you have already provided us with footage, you will not need to submit it again.

If you think you may have information that will be of use to our inquiries, please email us at ParliamentProtest@IPCA.govt.nz.  We will talk to you about the footage you have and, if required, arrange the best way for you to provide it to us.

What to expect if we interview you 

We won’t necessarily need to interview everyone who makes a complaint about Police conduct at the Parliament protests.  For most, the information you provide to us in your complaint will be enough. 

If we do need to speak to you, here is what you can expect:

Our interview with you is confidential.  Your information will help us understand what happened and contribute to our assessment of events which will inform our findings and any recommendations in our report.

Your identity and any information you provide that might identify you will remain confidential to the IPCA and will not be provided to any other person without your consent.

You are welcome to bring a support person with you to the interview if you want to.

Please bring along any documents that will help with your interview. We can request a copy of any documents or information we think are relevant to the investigation.

The interview will take place in private and will be recorded. This is the standard practice of the IPCA.  It means you know we have correctly recorded what you have told us and makes the interview quicker.  You can request a copy of the audio recording of the interview at any time.  We will talk to you about this at the end of the interview.

At the end of our investigation we will release our report to the public on our website.

If you have any questions, you can talk to the Project Team member assigned to interview you.

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