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Carterton’s protesting councillor

Protest at Parliament. PHOTO/NEW ZEALAND HERALD

“Ultimately, it’s the wider community that will judge this.” – Mayor Greg Lang
Protesting councillor: Aiming to get back to Parliament

A second local leader has become involved in the anti-mandate protest in Wellington.

Jill Greathead. PHOTO/FILE

Carterton councillor Jill Greathead said she had attended on a few occasions since the convoy and intended to return to Wellington yesterday.

She said she would return for as long as it took for vaccine mandates to be abolished.

Greathead said she was drawn to the protest because she was sympathetic to a lot of its message, particularly mandating.

She said the protest was something New Zealand could not ignore, nor something parliamentarians could ignore.

Greathead said she had seen an increase in government control through legislation since the 1980s, which she didn’t agree with.

“I think those who have lived through the 60s, and we saw it creep up in the 80s and 90s would have seen it happen. I have been on the council for 21 years and it’s got pretty bad.

“There is a bigger picture of regulative and legislative control, but the covid-19 mandate is the focus of the protest.”

Greathead said she had been involved in many different protests in her life, most related to environmental activism, but none had been quite like this.

“I will join a protest which I agree with, I wasn’t around for the 1981 protest against the Springboks because I was overseas.”

She said the arrests on February 11 were dreadful and she had spoken to people who had been arrested.

Greathead said she had never seen something quite like this before.

“Protests I’ve been in before were more like marches, this was very very different.”

She said there had been countless marches across New Zealand on the same topic that had been a “total waste of time”.

Greg Lang.

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang said local government must support public health measures from central government. He said this sometimes included controversial issues like mandates.

“This includes elected members. We can’t support acting illegally or against public health measures.”

He said he was speaking personally and not on behalf of Carterton District Council.

Lang said he believed that elected members were always seen as an elected member while they held office, “you need to conduct yourself accordingly”.

“The fact I’m getting asked this question is your answer. Ultimately, it’s the wider community that will judge this.”

Greathead said violence at the protest wasn’t a good thing. She said the protest was a peaceful place to be.

“I haven’t seen any violence, I haven’t seen any battery acid, I haven’t seen any people I would be frightened of.”

However, Wellington District Police said in a statement on Tuesday that three police officers had been taken to hospital for a medical assessment on Tuesday morning after being sprayed with a stinging substance.

It said all three officers were doing well.

“Other officers were fortunate to escape injury after a person deliberately drove the wrong way down Molesworth Street and stopped just short of colliding with them.”

Two people were arrested for obstructing police and one person was arrested for driving in a dangerous manner.

When asked how she felt about being grouped with people on the fringe of the protest with more extreme views, Greathead said the protest could be seen similarly to the abolishment of slavery.

“Only a small minority of people said slavery was bad, but they won in the end. They had to.”

She said the protest group may not be a fringe forever.

Greathead said the protesters weren’t likely to leave parliament grounds until an end to mandates was in law.

Greathead said she wasn’t vaccinated. She said she had done her research and had decided that the vaccine wasn’t safe enough.

She said she had had every other vaccination she had needed and had vaccinated her children.

The World Health Organisation [WHO] said there were strict protections in place to help ensure the safety of all covid-19 vaccines.

“Before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies, covid-19 vaccines must undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness.”

Ministry of Health said clinical trials had found that the Pfizer vaccine gave 95 per cent protection against the symptoms of covid-19.

Lang said everyone should have the right to protest and express choice – but only when it didn’t continually impact on the livelihood of others.

“And I certainly believe any kind of intimidation is unacceptable.”

He said New Zealand was in the final stages of Central Government’s covid response.

He said government’s response had, when compared with the rest of the world, delivered better outcomes than most other countries.

“Respectively voice your concerns and let it play out.”

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