Protests & demonstrations

It is an important aspect of our democratic society that people should be able to assemble peaceably in order to express their opinions on a subject. Perhaps the most favoured venue for demonstrations of a political nature is Parliament grounds.

Speaker Harrison, 1999


If you are planning a protest or demonstration on Parliament grounds, you can help to make sure it is a success by contacting the Speaker’s Office.

Getting in touch allows the Speaker’s Office to make appropriate arrangements and to offer you advice and provide information about demonstrating or holding a protest at Parliament.

You can also make sure that your event does not clash with another planned event, and find out about any planned counter-protests.

Contacting the Speaker’s Office

When you contact the Speaker’s Office, it is helpful to provide the following details:

  • Organiser’s name, phone number and address
  • Anticipated number of participants
  • Reason for event
  • Date, start and finish time (a maximum of 3 hours per protest during daylight hours only).

You can contact the Speaker’s Office either by 

  • Send an email to the Speaker’s office.
  • Send a letter to: Office of the Speaker, Parliament Buildings, Private Bag 18041, Wellington 6160, New Zealand
Protest in parliament grounds. Enlarge image

Protesters at Parliament hold placards.

Source: Fairfax NZ 2015

Standard conditions for protests and demonstrations in Parliament Grounds

The Speaker’s expectations for the use of Parliament Grounds by protestors and demonstrators are:

  • participants must assemble within and disperse from the grounds in an orderly manner, using the pedestrian ways so as to avoid damage to the lawns and flower beds and so as not to interfere with the flow of vehicular traffic
  • participants must not mount the main steps nor interfere with the use of Parliament buildings by those entering or leaving it in the normal course of their business
  • sound amplification equipment may be used; it must always be directed away from the buildings and must not operated in a manner disruptive to occupants of the buildings. Any sound equipment must be used for speeches only and kept to a reasonable level
  • participants are to conduct themselves in such a way as to avoid any breach of the peace
  • no food may be prepared or sold within Parliament grounds, but there is no restriction on people consuming food that they may have brought with them
  • no vehicles may be brought on to the grounds as part of a demonstration
  • no structure, such as a tent, may be erected. Only handheld signs are permitted.

Source: New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 579 (27 July 1999), pp. 18473-4.


Further notes

  • Protest participants are unable to enter Parliament Buildings in the 24 hours following the protest or demonstration.
  • Members of Parliament (MPs) are not prevented from taking part in demonstrations in the grounds or from addressing the crowds, but if they do so they must abide by the same rules as apply to the public.


Centotaph

Please contact Wellington City Council if you would like to demonstrate or hold a protest at the Centotaph. The Cenotaph Precinct in central Wellington includes the Cenotaph, at the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, and the plaza next to Parliament Grounds.