Wellington Scoop

Climate change activists arrested after blocking Lambton Quay

RNZ photo

News from Extinction Rebellion
More than thirty members of Extinction Rebellion have been arrested after a day of civil disobedience in Wellington.

Police arrested the rebels after they sat down in a circle to block Lambton Quay in front the Wellington Cenotaph and the Beehive.

Several hundred people – including members of the public – stood to support, chant and sing. Applause and cheers broke out as each person was peacefully removed by police.

As of 6 o’clock all the rebels blocking traffic had been removed.


Earlier report from Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion was blocking the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on Stout Street in Wellington this morning. MBIE is New Zealand’s ministry for oil, gas and minerals. The blockade is the first of 60 disruptive events planned by Extinction Rebellion in cities around the world.

Six people were attached with metal pipes to a pink car at the Lambton Quay end of Stout Street. The car’s wheels had been removed to make it immovable.

One person was attached to a three metre pink boat at the Balance Street end of Stout Street. Sixteen people were attached to each other surrounding the boat in a circle.


Victoria University student Melanie Vautier was locked onto the pink car. She said she had never been in an arrestable situation before, but feels the climate crisis means she has no choice.

“We want a future where all life thrives,” she says. “Yet MBIE is encouraging the burning of the dirty fuels that are pushing us towards mass extinction.”

“Either we make history, or we’re history,” Vautier says. “That means we must draw the line on fossil fuels before it’s too late. Existing oil and gas production is more than we can burn if we’re to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Vautier says the United Nation warns an increase above 1.5 degrees will lead to widespread human misery.

“Despite the climate emergency, just last week MBIE released more land in Taranaki for oil and gas exploration,” she says. “Worse, they are enabling OMV, one of the 100 climate criminals responsible for 70% of our greenhouse gases. This summer, OMV will start exploiting for oil and gas in untouched seas off the coast of Otago and Taranaki.”

OMV is the last major oil company in New Zealand.

Extinction Rebellion demands the Government, MBIE and OMV:

• Tell the truth and declare a climate and ecological emergency
• Act now to reduce greenhouse gases to net zero by 2025 which will require:
o A withdraw all permits for oil and gas exploration on land and at sea
o OMV to surrender their permits
o Immediate and significant investment and transition to renewable energy
• Go beyond politics and set up a Citizen’s Assembly on climate and ecological justice.


• In April 2018, the New Zealand government banned the issuing of new offshore oil and gas licences. However, they didn’t revoke permits that were issued before the ban. In total, 14 offshore oil and gas exploration licences remain active in New Zealand.
• OMV holds seven exploration permits, which allow them to search for new oil and gas in previously untouched areas of New Zealand’s ocean. These include the Taranaki Basin, the Great South Basin (off Otago) and the Pegasus Basin (off Wairarapa).
• OMV is one of just a handful of companies that are controversially drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic.
• OMV expect to begin exploratory drilling in Taranaki from November 2019.
Extinction Rebellion
• Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ started in late 2018 and has over 20 branches nationwide from Whangarei to Invercargill.
• As New Zealanders and members of the Pacific, Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa New Zealand acknowledge climate injustice is colonial injustice. Māori and Pacific peoples bear its brunt. Their voices and leadership must guide the way forward.

Extinction Rebellion has targeted ANZ Bank to push it to divest away from fossil fuels.

After rebels filled the Lambton Quay branch of the bank to declare a climate emergency, six individuals glued themselves to the window in an act of civil disobedience to demand action on the climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion was also blocking Staut Street and the entrances to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Today’s action was the start of an international wave of climate and environmental civil disobedience that will be held in 60 cities across the world this week.


  1. Marion Leader, 7. October 2019, 9:02

    What do they think about having a longer runway?

  2. WCC, 7. October 2019, 9:55

    The Extinction Rebellion protest is intermittently blocking Lambton Quay. Bus diversions are in place – Whitmore, Waterfront, to Taranaki.
    UPDATE (6.20pm): All intersections are open and traffic is moving freely.

  3. Morris Oxford, 7. October 2019, 13:38

    The last thing anyone wants from WCC is for bus routes to be “returned to normal”.
    Are the election promises being made by sitting councillors just the usual twaddle?

  4. Ray Meers, 7. October 2019, 16:36

    Where we they when the trolley bus wires were taken down? They could have achieved something instead of just pissing commuters off!

  5. Dave B, 7. October 2019, 17:49

    Good to see Extinction Rebellion and their followers standing up for what they believe. Or rather, sitting down for what they believe, for there they were, sitting in the middle of a busy Lambton Quay intersection with about 25 buses blockaded on each side. My thoughts were, why cripple public transport by this action? Public transport is supposed to be an antidote to the climate emergency (ignoring for the moment the reprehensible act by certain councillors in replacing our trolleybuses with diesels).
    If Extinction Rebellion wants to highlight one of the main culprits, why does it not instead stage a sit-in on the Wellington Motorway, with its endless stream of wasteful, carbon-emitting, single-occupant cars and no public transport to speak of.

  6. Gunta Stem, 7. October 2019, 19:00

    Well said Dave – why stop buses and cause even more diesel emissions (thanks to GWRC). Should have formed a ring round a carpark and stopped drivers getting their cars out.

  7. Susy Q, 8. October 2019, 7:44

    Their cause is disruption. It’s like a little tween doom cult with all people in the cells taking an oath to commit crimes and to be arrested.

  8. Alan, 9. October 2019, 8:59

    Yes, Susy, with the Police just watching all day while the protesters go about their mischief. Finally (about 10 hours after it all started) the police finally arrest 31 people and then later release them without charge. What have the protesters learned from that… presumably that they can go around and disrupt and make a nuisance of themselves and nothing will be done about it. They must be thrilled with the days ‘work’.