Thursday 25 June 2015

Protest at parliament in Wellington

New Zealand Greenpeace protesters scale parliament roof
Four environmental activists on roof of the parliament building in Wellington hold Reddit AMA calling for government action on climate change

25 June, 2015, 12.56 pm NZT

Four environmental protesters have breached security at New Zealand’s parliament by scaling the roof and perching themselves on a ledge above the main entrance.

The Greenpeace protesters on Thursday hauled up eight solar panels and unfurled a banner to protest what they say is the government’s lack of action in promoting renewal energy and dealing with climate change.

The protest began at dawn and continued throughout the morning. Police issued the four with trespass notices, but authorities say they plan to allow the protesters to come down on their own.

The breach will come as an embarrassment to the parliament’s security services.
David Stevenson, the general manager of Parliamentary Service, said in a statement he had ordered a full review of security procedures as a result of the breach.

Trespassing in or on the buildings is totally inappropriate, regardless of the motivations of those involved,” he said. “We are therefore taking this incident very seriously and will be looking for any lessons we can draw from it.”
The view outside our window this morning.

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The forecourt in front of the main entrance is frequently used for sanctioned protests.

Speaking from a cellphone, protester Johno Smith told the Associated Press that the four were experienced climbers and that they planned to come down on Thursday afternoon “before it gets too cold.”

He said he hoped the protest would inspire people to act. “We need to take clean-energy action,” he said. “Our society is based around fossil fuels.”

About 77% of New Zealand’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources, including hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The country’s vehicle fleet, on the other hand, primarily uses gasoline and diesel.

Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace New Zealand’s executive director, tweeted: “Security breach at parliament security breach of the planet? You choose.”

The climbers continued to publicise their protest from the roof, tweeting pictures of themselves and engaging in an “ask me anything” question-and-answer webchat on Reddit.

One of the protesters, named only as Jeff, told Reddit users that police officers on the ground were a “friendly bunch”, adding: “No signs of them comin [sic] up which is good, much safer for us. Best if we come down ourselves.”

LIVE UPDATES: Climate protest at Parliament buildings

Four climate change protesters have scaled the roof of Parliament buildings in Wellington. Follow LIVE coverage here.

The situation so far:

  • Greenpeace protesters have taken solar panels and banners on to the roof of the Parliament buildings
  • The organisation tweeted that it was a reaction to Prime Minister John Key's inaction on climate change
  • Police say it is more risky to arrest the protesters than to leave them up there
  • Follow our news story with comprehensive coverage of the protest here 

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