On Coster’s Covid Convoy Strategy


Over the weekend, I tapped out the following:

“In what’s going to be my most controversial take this month … I actually think that Police Commissioner Andrew Coster’s apparent strategy of “this’ll go down easier if we just let the whole thing implode of its own accord rather than go in swinging” might be entirely (if painfully – for Wellington) correct.”

At the time, it seemed a statement against the grain. Hashtags demanding Coster’s resignation were trending on Twitter. Wellingtonians (even the ones not on Twitter) seemed almost as aggrieved at the police for a lack of action against the protest as they were against the protest itself. The sentiments advanced by some of the commentariat in the Sunday (and Saturday) papers seemed to suggest they weren’t alone in this – except, of course, for the curious fact that various of those media mouthpieces seemed to be sotto-voce cheering on the protest specifically because it was causing optics difficulty for the Government and our Covid-19 public health response.

However, I had cautious cause for optimism on Coster’s behalf. Saturday had seen a rather dramatic occurrence – the revelation that some … unthinking protester had chosen to turn the nation’s Cenotaph into an impromptu ablution block for the protest campsite. This was received in pretty much all quarters about as well as one might expect – as if there is one thing pretty much every New Zealander not of some sort of Anarchist proclivity tends to agree upon, it’s the sacrosanct status of the ANZAC legacy.

I sensed, therefore, that this was likely a bit of a turning point in terms of the ‘momentum’ (in)surging into the mainstream of the protest narrative.

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And also noted that it seemed plausible Coster’s strategy had been drawn from that of Napoleon – who famously remarked one should “never interrupt your opponent when he’s in the middle of making a mistake.”

Subsequent developments seem to have confirmed this – with news stories out about the same time discussing how a citizen-media team who’d gone to visit and film the protest in order to show them to be non-violent … had been assaulted and “beaten to a pulp”; whilst the next day brought an extended press release from the groups at the center of the Convoy effectively stating that they had little actual control over the protest (to the point that they couldn’t even ensure access for trucks to service the portaloos at the site), and that movements toward ‘negotiation’ were a “deflection”.

Monday continued this trend, with the ‘moral high ground’ almost certainly not being held by the side throwing its own excrement about the place.

However, while it’s certainly one thing to observe the ‘momentum’ of the movement seemingly fizzle in the harsh glare of public scrutiny of what they’re actually about and like (at least, on the ‘fringes’) – this isn’t quite the same thing as doing something meaningful about the escalating sprawl of tents, cars, and placards which have been steadily encircling further and further around both Parliament and Wellington’s key central city governmental locations. Particularly in light of the shuffling around of cars and other potential obstacles which had been taking place toward the end of last week by the protesters in order to entrench themselves further against anticipated towing action.

That, instead, was provided via the rollout of a series of concrete barricades pre-Dawn on Monday Morning.

Which we may surmise to be a rather interesting development for the ‘Non-Violent Enforcement’ approach. One of simply giving the protesters what they want.

“We’ve barricaded ourselves in!”

“Yes. You’re barricaded in.”


“You barricaded yourselves in – we’re just agreeing with you.”

As it happens, this concords rather well with something I’d been thinking about a few days earlier – namely, what one does when one finds one’s self having to raise a siege in more conventional conflict terms.

I’ll spare you the extended military history discursions that conjured in my mind about this point and just skip straight to the answer I’d arrived at – you place the siege, itself, under siege.

Now at this point, we are going to sidestep for a moment into discussing just how this whole ‘Protest’ ethos appears to have come into being. Via a handy metaphor provisioned for us through the realms of physics. Which, yes, also helps to explain what’s going to happen next and why Coster’s strategy is likely to work.

My general typology for what’s been going on both politically and physically is … a gas. Now, gas differs from liquids and solids, insofar as it can be compressed into a smaller area – which raises pressure as the molecules go pinging bouncing off the walls faster.

The situation we’ve witnessed in NZ politics over the past year and a half – has seen the ‘space’ various people or political forces feel they occupy .. reduced quite markedly. Because Labour and Labour-support(ish) has expanded so massively – along with a seriously impressive degree of support for the accompanying Covid-19 public health measures they’ve presided over.
While some have adapted to this by effectively ‘splitting the difference’ and attempting to co-occupy (er..poor choice of words) space Labour is perceived to hold – others have adapted to a self-perceived shrinking habitat by going gas – and pinging off walls with escalating speed.

A good example of this is probably to be found by looking at the National Party from time to time. After a number of ‘false starts’, they realized that attempting to carve meaningful votes off Labour by pushing for ‘business as usual’ to resume as swiftly as possible, or for that matter, by heading into conspiratorial territory … was not really a good starter. And so they instead shifted to a general attack strategy (as exemplified by Chris Bishop) of taking something the Government was going to do eventually, and complaining that it hadn’t been done faster or better in some fashion.

That’s that ‘splitting the difference’ and ‘co-occupying space’ approach.

The other avenue, however, is exemplified by former National MP Matt King, who’s effectively become a billboard for ‘the path not taken’ by going from overtly opposing in both social media post and deed, the personal distancing rules that were in place in 2020 while he was still a Member of Parliament … through to quitting National in order to return to Parliament in a decidedly other capacity a few days ago as a would-be leader of the Convoy movement, following a rather piquant interview with the NZ Herald about some of his more curious beliefs in related areas.

Phrased another way and more succinctly – a lot of these guys feel like they’re increasingly marginalized, and so they’re ‘acting out’ precisely because of it.
Now all of that’s utterly uncontroversial in the political sense .. but it gets interesting in the physical sense.

Because at present, there’s apparently 30+ groups involved in this thing, plus a lot of people who aren’t part of one. I have no idea how many ‘factions’ there might be, but we do know various of these don’t like each other & have confronted each other from time to time.
Provided the protest had significant space it could ‘move into’ and expand, that presented less of an issue. You could set up another semi-hub for your particular crew of people just by pitching a tent somewhere less congested or parking up down the road.
However, by significantly restricting the available area for this kind of activity to, effectively, that which has already been claimed … it introduces a resourcing constraint (one of several if doughnut-trucks can’t get in, figuratively speaking) for an already overpopulated habitat.
What does overpopulation in a resource / territory constrained zone produce? Conflict.

What was there already? Conflict.

What has the revelation one protest-leader (former NewCons leader Leighton Baker) was aware of and engaged with by the police about the barricades going in ahead of time contributed to? Conflict.

What will likely cause protesters to feel ‘it isn’t fun’ and pack up? Conflict.

Internal conflict. Replacing that joyous sense that you’re all part of some big movement swimming in the same direction, with the sense that instead you’ve somehow found yourself in amidst three-to-three-dozen mistrustful camps that spend almost as much time sniping at each other as they do at the Government.

So, to quote me some Sun Tzu – “Your opponent is Choleric – Irritate Him”.
Or, with these guys “Your opponent is likely really keen on Conspiracy Theorizing. Give him a reason to distrust the hell out of his neighbour / establishing leadership”.

The concrete barricades are also good for another purpose.

The protest-groups’ press-release on Sunday indicated they were already having notable difficulty ensuring that vehicles were able to come and go to carry out essential things like servicing the portaloos. The rather radical solution of physically disposing of the human waste in question by flinging it at Her Majesty’s Constabulary evidently proving inadequate to the task of shoveling sufficient quotients for the hundreds of people on site.

Vehicles looking to get in to the Convoy’s occupation space are now no longer going to be able to come-and-go as convenient. The police control the access-points in. Those are their barricades. As an associate observed – that means they now have ‘Leverage’.

Up to the Weekend, Coster’s strategy was what appeared to be a valiant (if flawed) effort at what I call the coke-bottle analogy.

You know the one.

When confronted with a coke bottle that’s been shaken up, there are two ways of handling the problem.

You can twist off the lid completely – resulting in a sticky mess everywhere. All the pressure that’s built up explodes outward all at once. Or – you twist off the cap a bit at a time – allowing pressure to come out gradually.

Coster had resiled from the level of force required to twist the cap off all at once, quite understandably, because apart from the possible question as to whether he had sufficient resources in place to actually forcibly evict the occupation once it got past the first day or two … such a spectacle would almost certainly just have lead to a bigger problem elsewhere or elsewhen. The protesters themselves overtly pointed to the 120+ arrests on the Thursday (the 10th of February) as an effective ‘galvanizer’ of their own internal cohesion and a useful recruitment tool through footage of same going up online.

In other words – their ‘narrative’ had found its ogre, its antagonist … and continuing to play that role would be continuing to play into both their hands and that narrative position, strengthening same.

His preference, it would seem, when it became clear how well the previous approach was going (i.e. insufficient force being deployed to clear the protest, very sufficient force being deployed to look antagonistic in so doing) – was to go for the latter option. The gentle and delayed release of pressure through smaller cap-twists.

Except it ran into the obvious issue that pressure wasn’t actually being decreased. People continued to arrive at the protest, and as mentioned above, it would seem that a semi-deliberate strategy of moving to encircle Parliament and various important sites in the area had gotten well underway.

To return to our metaphor – it does little good to gently twist the cap of the coke-bottle part-way around if somebody is still shaking the coke bottle the whole time and somehow adding more coke into the mix as well.

The barricades – those of the Police rather than those of the protesters – are, therefore, a welcome ‘breathing room’.

They are not, in and of themselves, a full-scale solution. However they do facilitate a gradual de-escalation by hopefully helping to constrain the mean level of ‘new coke’ flowing in; whilst also creating internal conditions that will potentially encourage some people inside to start flowing back out at their own pace.

And whilst it’s very easy to cast a baton-equipped police officer as an ‘antagonist’ in one’s own preferred flavouring of post-modern morality play … it’s a lot harder to vent the same kind of animus toward an inanimate cement block.

At every stage of this pandemic, New Zealand has somehow managed to come out the ‘least-worst’ (indeed, in various cases, actually rather well – our life expectancy going up, for one example; unemployment hitting an absolute historic low, another) of much of the world with what we’ve attempted and accomplished.

It hasn’t been through luck (although yes, most certainly, that’s helped in places and in parts), but rather through the people making decisions making decent and well-informed ones. Eventually, in some cases, but eventually nonetheless.

Andrew Coster came to national prominence not for being appointed Police Commissioner – but rather, for being attacked by the Opposition as some sort of ‘Wokester’ and adhering to a doctrine (apparently known in the Anglosphere and practiced in various forms since the 1800s, not that you’d know it) known as ‘policing by consent’.

For the longest time, it had seemed that he was a man whose prevailing principles had seemed prospectively ill-fitting for the circumstances he had found himself in. Or maybe that’s just what the media-political spin sought to suggest.

Yet Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Man – it may just be that he and his approach might prove the unexpected exact right instrument for handling this current Covid Convoy quagmire.

He would appear to have already headed off the kinds of escalation which some overseas countries have experienced with their own local ‘Convoy’ occurrences (or other anti-Governmental pseudo-uprisings) – and for that, I think we should be grateful.

Will he be the man to preside over what brings about the Convoy’s further withering into wittering obscurity and eventual disapparation?

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow (and the next day) brings.


  1. You seem to be missing the point.

    The protests are about mandates, and the fact that there are no reasons for them.

    Vaccinated are getting sick at a rate twice that of unvaccinated.

    Why keep unvaccinated away from you? Why punish them for not blindly following along with your decision?

  2. The police had their hands tied at the start by Mallard setting up a confrontational situation. Coster, I gather, got criticised for not intervening sooner, when normal police protocols were being followed, with the district commander initially being in charge. Coster stepping in at the beginning of this protest would have given a bunch of hoons more stature than they deserved, so to hell with that.

    Right now I’m suggesting that Covid is more prevalent among the front line police than Coster may know, or it is incubating, and some of these young mum and dad cops will be physically tired on the job, as well as coping with whatever they have to on their home fronts – kids, washing, cleaning, cooking – in spite of triple jabbing.
    Politicians in their protected bubbles, or watching from balconies, are safer than they deserve to be.

    The upside is that Covid will be spreading among the protestors, the real protesters, not the optics visitors like Seymour, Coutts, Peters and co, and some will get very sick, hopefully not the children.

    Wellington Girls’College now having to be closed is disgraceful and totally unfair on the students, and St Mary’s could follow suit, and this angers me. Somebody of stature needs to try to communicate with the protestors about buggering up students’ lives, a possibility hopeless task when someone them are deranged and unpleasant nutters, but hopefully they are unvaxed and nature’s consequences will follow.

  3. The protestors, seem to have mixed messages, no sensible leadership, are oblivious to the consequences of their actions, are factually wrong, and talk crap – in other words they are just like the public service.

    And critics who have said that Mr Coster is smart but soft, indirectly criticise his rival for the position Mr Clement, just because Mr Clement never studied law at law school. This doesn’t mean Mr Clement is not as smart, it just means he probably had no interest in studying law at law school, that’s all.

  4. Another excellent post, Curwen.

    Coster is, indeed, an impressive fellow. He won me over from my “go hard, go early, with batons” position in the course of his exceptional interview with Q+A’s Jack Tame.

    As you say: “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.”

  5. It was a police cluster from the start.
    They had more than enough time to block off the streets entering Parliament.
    If they’d done that before the convoy arrived they can then say to the convoy upon arrival – you’re welcome to protest but from this point on you have to go by foot. No vehicle access.
    Protest prob gone by now.
    Only now are they starting to get a handle on matters.

  6. Does the police eye gauging and punching protesters sit well with the NZ public? MSM aren’t doing their job at all. The footage of this assault is all over social media yet not a squeak on msm. It was an over the top assault.

    Just search NZ Police on twitter and look for yourself. It’s disturbing.

    Also interesting that in a time where everyone has a camera there is no evidence of
    1. poo being thrown
    2.someone being “king hit” by protesters
    3.allegations of sexual assault

    and then if those smears weren’t enough Coster comes out and says that cops at protest are now infected thus implying the protesters are spreading the virus. Nice work.

    What we are witnessing is straight out of the playbook of some dictatorial banana republic yet it is happening in NZ.

    • We might be a banana republic but we still have the lowest death rates so something is working, could it be the high vaccination rates or maybe the masks wearing.

    • “It’s all over social media” …. X that might be part of the problem. Again with the BS about the MSM not being fair. Give me a break. They might be b grade for a percentage of the time but that is nothing to do with being impartial. You struggle to find positive stories about the NZ Covid response on most days. It is one big whinge fest (granted there have been some genuinely sad incidents and stories). As for the protest MSM played numerous clips like the female who got herself naked and then arrested, making it look like she had somehow had her clothes ripped off. Then we had countless replays of the cop who was making derogatory remarks about the protesters. I haven’t heard anyone say the police are saints.

      Is it possible the MSM were not in there filming the shit throwers because they had been threatened just for turning up? Ever think about that? Of is that all lies as well?

      • Wheel- That naked girl coated herself in coconut oil leaving the copesses a fairly limited choice as to how to transport her, and she urged other girls to strip off too, but failed abysmally – and with due respect to the copesses, being woman-handled rather than being man-handled was likely a big letdown for her, so all in all, she was a big fail, a big public fail, and a big thick fail if she was hoping anyone would think that the police strip women’s clothes off – useless female.

        Right at the start protestors did threaten journos, politicians and police with execution, and “ execute” was the word which they used, and a criminologist commented on this earlier today. This could be why media are skulking up on Trevor’s balcony – which they shouldn’t be – and unless they have bionic ears, they may not have a very accurate idea of what is being said down at ground control, so they’re pretty useless too.

    • Some dictatorial banana republic? One of those republics we sneer where witch craft is practised and people have the most bizarre, fantastical beliefs. We’re well and truly there if we listen to half the mumbo-jumbo from the screw loose speakers and the agreement from the simpletons.

      Have to credit the police though. In their team meetings they are told time and again, “When all hell breaks loose, whether with an individual or a crowd, never ever touch anyone or grab them by the head or around the head. Regardless of the circumstances, including the size of the individuals, keep away from heads. That will prevent eyes being at risk.”

      They’ve abided by that so well that hurt eyes have hardly figured in the physical encounters. The yoga ladies doing their thing haven’t complained about their eyes being gouged, I haven’t complained about my eyes being gouged. Now who could possibly get in a situation where they might get hurt?

      The injured whinger is a boofhead palooka. A big toughie pissed off he didn’t get his own way and embarrassed he’s been seen to be a loser when he tried to be The Man.

    • the person who ALLEGEDLY was eye gouged is clearly having a go at the cops in the video, so he got punched maybe not the best response but understandable..

      even the so-called spokespeople and the destiny church are saying the demo is infiltrated by a violent group…not MSM the demo reps and brians bootboys.

      and no it’s not antifa, black/red flags are the one symbol notable by it’s absence…police agent provocateurs well the right have been denying that is a thing in reference to left wing demos for donkeys years.

    • X’s. It stands to reason that unvaxed protestors are likely to be spreading the virus, whether they know it or not. And they may be spreading it not only to police officers, but to passersby, school pupils, and to each other. That’s how it works, believe it or not.

      If you regard Twitter as a reliable source of information, good luck, you’re going to need it.

  7. ….Until Winston arrives to add another dimension!

    He could now speak for them to Labour and National and also the Maori Party when they next appear in court for the SFO Fraud Case charges from 2017, 2020’s general elections!

    Whose really the crooks then?

    • Denny P. “ Whose really the crooks then ? “. Trevor Mallard for starters, ignoring WCC water restrictions and ignoring the police when they asked him to stop it. The Wellington Regional Council should be paying him a visit about this, and hopefully the Mayor will have gathered evidence from the hosed-off, when he visited them.
      God knows what Mallard will do to them, but they’d be well advised to wear full body armour, mouth guards, and walk backwards like he seems to.

  8. Coster critics have forgotten how quickly things escalated, and how protestor numbers mushroomed, after Mallard aped the hoon from the school picnic in the domain in 1959. Labour’s crude confrontational tactics with water and noise by night, gained the demonstrators support from all over New Zealand, at that point, and more people descended upon the capital.

  9. When you repeat the lies of the media and the lies of the government, designed to divide our nation then yes is no wonder you feel the way you do. Perhaps in future provide some evidence of your claims. The police are between a rock and a hard place but are the aggressors here.

    • That comment amounts to shallow hypocrisy… And slightly ridiculous in it’s self serving nature.. To be prattling selfish, and childish nonsense while the country is about to be assailed by an even more pernicious variant of the coronavirus is actually disloyalty to ones own people.. Just because one cannot grow out of adolescent entitlement and take ones place in the flow of “mature thinking and action” is no excuse to put everyones lives and health at risk.. These people should be grateful that the vast majority who consider their behavior abhorrent have the maturity not to just go to Wellington, and kick the living s##t out of those spoilt brats crapping all over the ground they occupy… I would put serious money on that thought having passed through an awful lot of peoples minds this week..

  10. When you believe only what you want to believe then you deny full access to the truth.
    People make the claim the government and media are lying, yet cannot provide one shred of evidence,I say to them, you make the claim, you prove it. Otherwise it’s a baseless false claim. As for the police, I didn’t see them throwing shit or acid like substances, the far right groups in the protesters are the aggressors here.

  11. GPs are not specialist far better to listen to Rod Jackson an epidemiologist. When I go to my doctor about sport injuries I ask to see a physio or orthopedic specialist as they are the experts in these fields. And people like you Andy need to stop undermining our experts. A lot of Americans have died from Omicron your so called cold or flu.

  12. I think this is a very insightful take on the situation. Thanks Curwen. I think you are correct that the protestors, infected by conspiracy paranoia, will turn on each other.

  13. I like your thoughtful style and fresh approach Curwen. I think that it would be good PR and make for a co-operative police with esprit de corps, if the Commissioner of Police Andrew referred to the wonderful effort that his face-ro-face and head-to-head police officers have put in, enabling reasonable limits on this protest of unruly, excitable people so it didn’t deteriorate into treasonable! (He need not refer to the often unhinged behaviour and rhetoric – most already have seen that). While they might have been faster into curtailing matters, as referred to in other blogs, I think it is healthy to see this approach in contrast to jumping in boots and all as in the Tuhoe episode.

    He might say that like other government workers making exemplary efforts during this disease outbreak, that he looks forward to calling a halt to the necessary response to the protests, and all should go back to their lives and duties that have been put on hold. This also applies to his his officers and support staff and others such as St Johns medical teams can take a needed break from the 24/7 stresses they have been under.

  14. Curwen, an excellent read. We should be extremely grateful to the Police Commisioner for leading a limited confrontational approach.

  15. Coster is hugel impressive. Just watched his interview with Ryan Bridge this morning. Outstanding man. It’s shitty he got so much flack at the start.

    The Govtand in particular Mallard have behaved apallingly

      • How can the Government ‘shape up’? Would they do that by constantly consulting with experts, revising strategies and timelines and using evidence to shape strategies that try to get the best balance to protect the population while doing as much as possible to not inconvenience the usual flow of life for most people? Oh – aren’t they doing that?

  16. Another excellent piece, Curwen. Being a more ‘shoot from the hip’ kind of person, I have opined loudly about police inaction. You make an excellent argument for exactly that. I would rather like to see the cap squeezed really tight so that the coke implodes, but that kind of notion brings with it no real satisfaction. You paint a more hopeful picture of a possible outcome, you write compelling text and, well, you might just be making me feel a tad more calm about this whole miasma. /for some, when the fun stops, they will slink off home, never to be heard from again – one can live in hope.

  17. Maybe Coster’s response was a reflection of the crowd he thought he was dealing with. If you are dealing with rational people, then he could expect the protesters to focus on protest rather than disruption, respect the boundaries of the police, law, and rights of other citizens. Rules will be tested, but both sides understand them.

    Instead he was dealing with a collective of interests that included the full spectrum of dipshits. The hard hammer of the law falling on a group of conspiratorialists and the deluded would likely have reinforced what they already believed, that they were being shut down for speaking the “truth”. Instead of tackling the crowds early, before the general public believes is a fair time to make your point, he let us hear what the crowd had to say. People saw the speaker of the house as the antagonist, not the police.

    So, Coster waited. Sure, there were arrests early on and a naked bushpig getting dragged was displayed on morning TV when we were trying to eat our breakfast. But over time, the chorus built for the police to do something. No longer would the police be acting in a heavy handed manner, instead doing something they should have done from the start.

    Our taxes have paid for the batons, shields and steel-capped boots. It’s time to use them, but time it for when Winston and Sir Russell are in the crowd.

    • And imagine if Bridges or Collins were in charge, Strike Force Raptor anyone? I wonder what the right wing trolls would have to say about their freedoms then given National has agreed with the Government’s response to the protests.

      • Brilliant strategy by Coster. Therefore more brilliance by Ardern!
        I guess why the Jezza fails on all counts.
        Never mind he can always stick to Putin and Trump such is his liking of dictatorship.

        • @ bert And Jeremy supports the Nuremburg NZ site, threatening to execute politicians, media and health experts.
          Refuses to denounce the site, its threats, its racism and even its Dirty Politics links.

    • well you and the protesters obviously think it is a threat or what are you whining about…you can’t have it both ways panzerlied

  18. Panzerlied ey? At least it has a nicer beat than “The Red Army Is the Strongest”…hey, Yuri the Russian Cosmonaut?

  19. Excellent piece and creative analogies, good to see you in print. I have fond memories of discussions we had many moons ago on the NZD and other subjects.

    After Mallard’s half-assed antics, Coster could very well end this peacefully
    – Leaving the worst elements of the movement disunited and conflicted
    – Avoiding right wing PR-victory and media spectacle of the police cracking protestors heads
    – Avoiding a modern precedent for aggressively shutting down public protests
    – Avoiding a cascading political disaster like Canada where even opponents of the trucking protest are castigating Trudeau for invoking emergency powers and highly inflammatory rhetoric in parliament. Now Alberta looks set to sue the federal government.

    Not to mention policing critics eating their words, maybe that last one is too optimistic! Let’s see what the next few days bring.

  20. Kia ora Curwen

    An interesting you have written. A couple of comments.

    On one hand I can appreciate in the context of past violent evictions like Bastion Point, the cops being wary of doing anything that might explode the situation unnecessarily and cause substantial public push back. For that their wariness of going all in from the start can only be commended.

    I can appreciate that the Police by virtue of decades of government policy are a bit stretched in terms of numbers and resources that they can bring to bear. They need to be able to see the protest off without creating a situation that they are not capable of controlling. They have also learnt some of the finer points of diplomacy that a lot of police forces around the world don’t seem to have done so, either because their governments want a stronger response or they simply haven’t been trained to disarm hostile situations.

    But this is Aotearoa. Here our police have learnt that a strong arm approach does not always work straight off, even if perfecting it is still a work in progress. They have learnt to use diplomatic methods where possible and maintain a rapport with the community.

    So, what is the problem?

    Simply, the public have had enough of the protesters disrupting their lives. The protesters have had their chance to have a peaceful protest. It is turning sour and the conditions of the protest camp are making things worse. Wellingtonian’s want their city back. New Zealanders want their Parliament back. 139,000 people including myself and probably quite a few who read articles on this website want them to pack up and go home.

    And then there is the right to peaceful protest. No one is denying the right to peaceful protest. What people are saying now is that the peaceful part of the protest has long since transited into something more sinister. When you have cops getting faeces and acid thrown at them; businesses and their clientele being harassed; students needing intervention because supposedly grown adults have decided it is okay to intimidate them; the disabled community not being able to go places safely, that is not a peaceful protest any longer. When the protesters are calling for hanging’s, arbitrary trials of the media, politicians and some business people, that is not a peaceful protest any more.

    But where is Andrew Coster in this?

    Curwen quite eloquently wrote about Mr Coster’s record. He examined the N.Z. Police Commissioner’s record and noted his strengths, the Opposition claims about him being woke.

    I would not argue that Mr Coster is necessarily woke. I would argue that he has underestimated at just about every turn, the true of the protest movement that is expanding across Aotearoa. He has not shown recognition of the fact that these protests, from the weekly Brian Tamaki events during lockdown through to now, have been very well signposted on social media. If Mr Coster had looked seriously at New Zealand Twitter, he would have seen all sorts of warning signs that the protest movement absolutely mean what they say.

    And yet, here we are. In a situation where the Wellington protest have trashed the lawns of Parliament; another protest is occupying Cranmer Square in Christchurch; a third protest crossed the Auckland Harbour bridge today without permission. A fourth is occupying land in New Plymouth.

    All of these protests have been well sign posted. Are these places in addition to Wellington now going to have to suffer Mr Coster’s reluctance to draw a line that the Police will enforce?

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