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Terrace Tunnel closed as protesters bring Wellington traffic to a standstill

Author
Vita Molyneux,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 Apr 2023, 9:02am

Terrace Tunnel closed as protesters bring Wellington traffic to a standstill

Author
Vita Molyneux,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 Apr 2023, 9:02am

Four people have been taken into police custody after blocking Wellington’s State Highway 1.

Protesters were blocking the southbound lanes of the highway heading towards the Terrace Tunnel by sitting and lying across the motorway but have all been removed by police.

A protester is carried away by police. Photo / SuppliedA protester is carried away by police. Photo / Supplied

The group is protesting for the return of passenger rail services across New Zealand.

James Cockle, the spokesperson for protest group Restore Passenger Rail, told NZME the group is back after a four-month hiatus.

“We’re desperate, we can see the effects of climate change all around us. The flooding in Auckland, Cyclone Gabrielle, tornadoes now...we are desperate, we can see the effects of climate change and things are only getting worse.”

He said he could understand the annoyance of commuters who are being disrupted, saying he would be annoyed too.

Traffic backing up in front of the protesters this morning. Photo / SuppliedTraffic backing up in front of the protesters this morning. Photo / Supplied

“But when you consider the disruption that’s caused by our actions today and compare that with the disruption caused by the floods in Auckland, that cyclone Cyclone Gabrielle, then this is a much smaller inconvenience in comparison to those devastating events.”

It’s the first protest in almost four months for the group, which wreaked havoc across Wellington’s highways last year by sitting across them.

Transmission Gully, Johnsonville, and the Mt Victoria Tunnel were all targeted by the group who say the Government must act now to stop a climate disaster.

Police talk to Restore Passenger Rail protesters sitting on Transmission Gully.Police talk to Restore Passenger Rail protesters sitting on Transmission Gully.

In one protest the group climbed a gantry above State Highway 1 in Johnsonville and planned to join Parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee to deliver their petition via Zoom.

However, they were not allowed to join while actively breaking the law.

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