Wellington City Council shuts down protest march with fees

We are very disturbed to hear that the Wellington City Council has shutdown a planned political protest march by proposing to charge the organisers $5000 for traffic management.

Frankie Rae – a 15-year-old Onslow College student and School Strike 4 Climate organiser – was disappointed by the council’s decision. “When we can’t march, our voices are silenced.”

Hutt Valley High School student Izzy Cook​ said protesting is a civil right. “By being required to pay this massive cost, we feel as though our right to protest is being denied,” the 16-year-old said.

School climate strikers: We shouldn’t have to pay $5000 to protest safely

We believe that the right to protest is of vital importance in a democratic society and recognise the protest march as a key feature of New Zealand’s democratic tradition. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is explicitly protected in New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act.

While we agree that ideally protest organisers should notify councils and work with them to ensure that protest marches are well managed and safe, we see this as a courtesy rather a requirement.

We can’t let political protest marches be reserved for those with the money to pay.