The most important learning from the parliament protest is not in the police report


Yesterday’s release of the Independent Police Conduct Authority report on the Covid-related parliamentary lawn protest a year ago contained lots of recommendations for the police in terms of equipment, training, strategy and tactics – all aimed at better dealing with future protests at parliament.


But the most important learning from the protest is not there. It hasn’t been acknowledged by police or politicians and yet it was what turned a strong but relatively small disagreement with government policies around Covid into what became a maelstrom of rage which erupted on parliament’s lawns.

It was the decision to boot thousands of people out of their jobs because they were not vaccinated.
Having previously been specifically assured there would no repercussions for anyone who decided against being vaccinated for whatever reason, the government made the fateful decision to impose employment vaccination mandates for the likes of teachers, nurses and front-line workers and opened the way for private sector businesses to follow suit.

I think the government got caught up in its own hubris and rhetoric. It had overwhelming public support for its approach to Covid until that point and assumed it would get away with piling on the pressure to increase vaccination rates by a few more percent.

At the time I thought it was an overreach and could have awful repercussions.

The decision fuelled conspiracy theories like no other and changed the “team of five million” into a highly polarised country. It’s not difficult to draw a straight line from the employment vaccination mandate decision to the resignation of the Prime Minister earlier this year.

The employment vaccine mandate decision didn’t have to be taken and we are a smaller country for it. But don’t expect this to be acknowledged by politicians.

TDB Recommends


  1. Objectively John is right-this is a split country-which of course is being leveraged by the right wing as per Trumpism.

    Friendships, union member solidarity in some cases, and community affairs have all been affected by COVID mandates.

    Hindsight is great, but at the time high vaccination levels were the science. I am pro vaccination and regard grown adults who refused as “cry babies”. It was hilarious listening to some of the refusers-smokers, drug and alcohol users, junk food lovers, complaining about putting this unknown substance into their bodies! Thousands of lives were saved which was a great achievement.

    The social fall out will just have to be dealt with over time like NZers have done on other contentious issues.

    • You cannot vaccinate into the blood stream against an airborne virus such as Covid, the common cold, or the flu; they’re all a scam. How many billions have we wasted on these poisonous concoctions!? which have caused deaths and disability.

      • Of course one can.
        There are benefits and risks associated with any medical intervention. And it is unquestionably the obligation of government to develop a strategy to manage the effects of any public health risk.
        The question whether one should, is a question for the individual.

    • This goes well beyond a left right split.
      You know it as well as anyone who watched the footage.

      This a power differential issue.

  2. You still have not understood that the Police will only police those they are tasked policing. This Police force was lucky a leftwing mob did not trample a bunch of elderly women who came together for a meeting in a park to death. The country is lucky that that did not happen, and that the only damages came in the form of a broken eye socket, and other ‘minor’ injuries, with the police seemingly unable to do anything about the frenzied mob of well to do middle calls kidlings. The Police did what they did because they were tasked to do what they did. Ditto for the lawn protest. But i guess when its lefties telling the police to only police by consent – consent from government – its ok.
    Currently your whole police force is endangering the public, and be extention even themselves. But i guess when the left is busy smearing everyone as a rightwinger in order to minimize the concern of the protestors that is to be expected, after all the police is the jack boot of the establishment.
    But i guess so as long as people that lefties/government approved are not hurt its ok.
    So maybe the government should have a look at the current ongoing battles between the government stormtroopers against citizens in France, and invest in some motorbike helmets for coppers – you know to prevent ‘damage’.

      • Well he is a few years late with his warning. Specially about the part where Labour is applying a type of anarcho tyranny that will lead to lots of unhappy people who will then vote for someone who will lock up those that rape, steal, kill and not on a nice home D sentence.

        • And that will be a deplorable outcome?
          So maybe that is what he and Trotter are advocating for?
          Now that will be a turn up for the books.

  3. Yes, I tend to agree. It was the moment the inclusive kindness politics merged with that other beast used by politicians of urban liberal proressiveism, interference into peoples lives, like way too deep. Ironically, whilst police had to clean up the immediate mess made by those same politicians, many had lost their jobs too.

    The long very unnecessary Auckland lockdowns, the piss poor management of the MIQ system Auckland was inflicted with, only being allowed to have picnics with selected people no more than selected distances from one’s home broke many, and the whole by in by most of us was over.

    Interestingly, the same dictatorial style of enforcing ideologies on the majority is why Wayne Brown won Aucklands mayoralty and shifted its balance to the centre.right. Labour should be very worried.

  4. I rarely agree with you Minto but yep, spot on.
    Malibu Cindy showed her true fascist streak because she knows better *sarc*

  5. Agreed. They were a tiny percent of the population who were not on board with vaccination.
    They were certainly not worth dying in a ditch for.

  6. Yup. It all turned to shit when those CEOs wrote to the PM in September 2021 and she made a political decision to end the lockdown(s) a few days later.
    That’s when the thinking public knew it was a load of bs. It wasn’t a health issues no longer.

    • Or when the commissioner is called to a meeting with the Speaker and straight after the meeting, which was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Attorney General, instructs the police to move the protesters on and to claim that there was no political pressure asserted.
      That’s when the thinking public know……

  7. It’s interesting how humans behave differently when everyone is watching. Police need to have compulsory body cams every day regardless. They’re the largest gang of uneducated thugs in the country. Without surveillance they do what they like, because they can.

  8. John – My concerns is as follows
    – Incidents where the Police lost their temper, and beaten the crap out of the Protesters – not mentioned at all, despite footage of those assaults
    – The Police taking stuff for “evidence”, and never returning it…for example, the mobile shower unit…despite, all the court cases been finished…not mentioned
    – Most charges (arrests) have been dropped, due to faults within the laws…not mentioned

  9. Well said John.

    It was obvious from the outset that protesters were a mish mash of concerns, but it appeared to me that the fundamental concern were the mandates.

    Also telling was your paragraph “I think the government got caught up in its own hubris and rhetoric. It had overwhelming public support for its approach to Covid until that point and assumed it would get away with piling on the pressure to increase vaccination rates by a few more percent.” Moreover it wasn’t only the public that provided overwhelming support it was telling that practically everyone in the media sided with the govt. No one dared ask ‘hang on, can we take a step back here’

    It was obvious with the 1pm briefings that the MSM and the govt were very very cozy. And if you had even the smallest distrust in the media/govt relationship this coziness only reinforced the need to a) distrust the govt/MSM even more and b) look for alternative news sources.

    I suspect a major increased distrust in the legacy news started here. Especially when you could go on the likes on the Joe Rogan podcast and hear someone allowed to question govt decisions for the very first time, without being attacked.

  10. Yes, it was the mandates that led to this protest, ditto countless protests like it around the world. Can’t really blame the government too much because they were just doing what every other, largely Western nation, was doing. Problem I have is with – who was leading this dance??

  11. Good article summed things up pretty well, Mallard was an absolute cock with his behaviour however he has a history of irrational behaviour. However Cindy let the whole thing drag on and the undesirable’s aka River of Filth, used this as an excuse to create merry hell.

  12. 100% agree John. Labour treated its citizens with absolute contempt. It showed up what a joke it is that Labour are a party for workers

  13. Agree with John and almost every comment on here, a strange day indeed.

    As I recall about half of the protestors demands were met within 6 weeks of the protest in any case and the government must have known that was the direction of travel (as that was the trend globally). Yet they couldn’t send one person to talk with protestors and instead characterised the whole protest by its worst elements. When government and media characterise a majority green and labour protest group as alt-right then they are the boy who cried ‘nazi’.

    As for those making ‘it was the science’ argument’. At the time if the protest the less virulent Omicron strain was dominant, the short term benefit of vaccines were well know as were the risk factors by age and for underlying condition and the benefit of natural immunity. So there WAS a good case for vaccines in sense of the Great Barrington Declaration, but NOT for mandates. Ironically most western nations have now quietly adopted policies that align with GBD. A pity the protocol and its authors were activity discredited at the time.

    Of course revelations such as the Australian TGA report and pathology studies such as in Germany and Japan (but strangely not in the anglosphere) suggest the covid vaccinations story still has a very long way run.

  14. I agree with John in what sparked the huge protest problem in Wellington. The police however didn’t make the law and their job was to control the protest. They didn’t. The protesters made their point in two days. On the third day they should have been moved on. Coster let it drift on and those unsavoury types in the growing crowd turned it into a mob. Stupid government and weak policing.

    • And the questions is why did they respond in the way they did.
      Thinking of that event and then the Posie Parker event.

      We know that actions by the media and from parliament influenced the way in which police action was rolled out and managed on both occasions.

      We need government, government agencies and the media to reflect very carefully on how these events played out. We can do better.

      • You were obviously watching a different scene. One was anarchy, the other was Posy Parker. Not sure how the two shirtless guys hurling bricks is the medias fault. Blaming media government and it’s agencies for others personal decision making and personal responsibilities is akin to a dictatorship.

        You can do better.

  15. I disagree, John. Until Omicron came along and turned the gameboard upside down again, the vaccination mandates were needed to give frontline workers who WERE vaccinated (and the people that the frontline workers serve) comfort that they would not be unnecessarily exposed to the Delta variant of Covid.

    There was clear data to support vaccination as being effective at reducing infection/transmission of Delta, and in the real world there were many people (particularly the immune compromised and those with other comorbidities) who were simply not going to take a risk in their own lives for the sake of indulging the poorly-informed reckons of a minority. It was not possible to be totally inclusive – either people who chose not to be vaccinated had to be excluded by law or people who (generally through no choice of their own) were highly vulnerable to Covid would effectively exclude themselves. Either way, whoever was excluded was going to end up angry, aggrieved and disconnected from society. The government chose the former and I remain of the firm view that was the morally correct thing to do at the time.

    Once there was sufficient evidence that vaccination did bugger all to reduce infection/transmission of the subsequent Omicron variant, the mandates were wound back. Again, the morally correct thing to do.

    There’s a considerable degree of hindsight going on here. If Omicron hadn’t come along a month or two after the mandates came into effect and we were still all dealing with Delta, I suspect the narrative about the decisions made would be quite different.

    • Incorrect, gravely so…the information was already out there regarding, well – everything!!! There is no hindsight, none at all.

      If i were allowed to, I would present a mountain – a frigging mountain – of peer reviewed science/study dating back to well before thee actual worldwide vaccine rollout that clearly showed that everything about this issue – was wrong!!!!

      Alas, I am not allowed to. hence why ignorant comments like yours see the light of day. I doubt if this comment sees the light of day anyway…such is the tragically idiotic world we live in. Censorship serves the powerful….one day the folks here will get it.

    • Leighton you are 110 % correct. The real threat is those still down the rabbit hole do not do the soul searching that is required. Otherwise we will see the anarchists and conspiracy theorists reign Supreme again.

      • When have the ‘anarchists and conspiracy theorists’ reigned supreme on this issue?
        The narrative – ‘safe and efficient’, ‘two shots for summer’ ‘ do it for the whanau’…etc promoted by government and captive mainstream media reigned supreme.
        The government knew before the rollout the vaccine had potentially dangerous consequences and was ineffective after a relatively short period, but went ahead anyway.
        Ardern and Bloomfield should be in prison for gross dereliction of duty in endangering the short and long term health of the population.

  16. John Minto is 100% correct and the real threat now is the those in power do not do the soul searching required.
    If those in power do not digest this properly we will only see an escalation in future.

  17. John Minto recognises that vaccine mandates were bad and polarised the nation yet this same John Minto backs co-governance which is also (literally) dividing the nation.

    How can he simultaneously hold such opposing beliefs and not see the contradiction in his ways?

  18. The most important thing to learn from this is it was no protest it was anarchist there for a scrap with the police, and the police won. A protest doesn’t involve throwing bricks or gas cylinders on fires. Yet the rabid right are screaming blue murder over the Posy Parker protest ffs!!!

  19. This was a civil rights protest. Mandates are wrong on every level. The people who protested were protesting for BORA to be upheld. They came from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum, many were vaccinated. The media and Govt misrepresented this all the way through. We are lucky we still have people who are willing to act to ensure our rights. The Govts unwillingness to talk to their constituents and their deeply divisive comments and actions need to be called out for what it is.

    • At least government, parliament and reluctantly the police supported their right to demonstrate. That was a public good.
      Everyone sat up and took notice.
      Let’s just hope that all the authorities learned the right “learning” from this experience.

      Thanks for shining a light on this, John and TDB.

  20. It’s not ‘learning’, it’s ‘lesson’, just like it’s not ‘The’ Hawke’s Bay, it’s Hawkes Bay, fellow Napierite.

    Have a care.

  21. In retrospect. A lot in retrospect. Interested to see if mandates were justified. But it was mainly the hinge for the Yank Fascist know-nothing propaganda.

    We know the govts did their best.

    For me it was about not over-running the hospitals. My indictment is the short-termness of democratic govts. All over immediate challenges but not the real ones.

    While I’m here, thanks to my fellow Leftists for never being supportive. Always being aggro to me at best, you are much like the old Leftists. Truth doesn’t engender camaraderie I see. Except with my crazy brothers, which is where I went wrong. But of course Martyn and Chris don’t have brothers.

  22. And after all of this. I’m still waiting for my free wifi, tinfoil and the nanobots to kick-in!

  23. Agree. The mandates and the last Auckland lockdown destroyed all the good work that the government had done up to this point.


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