Wellington city is at a near standstill as more than 3000 people gather outside Te Papa for todayâ€™s Hikoi to Parliament.
Detective Inspector Rod Drew, acting Wellington District Commander, and head of Operation Hikoi, says it has been a slower trip into Wellington than usual this morning for city bound commuters as cars and buses associated with the Hikoi travel to the Te Papa assembly point.
Traffic on State Highways 1 and 2 continues to be heavier than usual with backlogs through the Ngauranga interchange and the inner city quays. Traffic was reduced to a crawl after some Hikoi associated vehicles unfortunately went across all southbound lanes, backing up other traffic behind them.
Detective Inspector Drew says inner city quays are now heavily congested with traffic down to 5kmph in most places. Some march participants have parked their vehicles near the Westpac Stadium and are currently walking on footpaths down the quays to Te Papa.
Three hundred people walked the 3km from Newtown Park to Te Papa, arriving about 9.30am.
Police are urging motorists to use western arterial routes through the city â€“ southbound through The Terrace Tunnel motorway onto Ghuznee Street and northbound to use Buckle Street, Taranaki Street and Vivian Street.
The main Hikoi is expected to leave from Te Papa at 10.30am, blocking Cable Street, the southern end of Taranaki Street, Dixon Street, Victoria Street, Manners Street, Willis Street and Lambton Quay for at least two hours.
"Itâ€™s frustrating to sit in traffic but we thank people for their patience. The best bet is to avoid the inner city if you can."
Hikoi participants are expected to be at Parliament until at least 6pm. While some may disperse during the afternoon there is the potential for congestion in the Thorndon and Molesworth Street areas during tonightâ€™s peak hour traffic.
Media contacts: Kaye Calder, tel 04 496 3464 or 0274 373 020
Or Sarah Martin, tel 04 496 3464 or 0274 748005