Monday, October 17, 2022

User-pays democracy for some, but not for others

Back in September, the Wellington City Council effectively killed the School Strike for Climate march by demanding they pay an unaffordable "traffic management fee" to a council crony. I was curious about the council's practice in this area, so I asked the obvious question about another high-profile protest: Destiny Church's August 23 hate-march. Did the council also demand they pay for "traffic management"? Of course not.

New Zealand Police requested that Fulton Hogan provided a Temporary Traffic Management (TTM). The TTM was then charged back to the Council via the CBD maintenance contract to the amount of $16,577.48. It is important to note that the TTM was requested by Police & in no way was there any request from the protest organisers, nor dialogue between the Council and the protest organisers regarding the TTM.
According to a subsequent email, the fee was then charged back to police. It is unclear if they actually paid.

There's an obvious followup here of how many other protests the council tried to charge fees, or whether they only target socially conscious kids who will be too scared to fight back. Meanwhile, the clear takeaway message is that if you're planning a protest in Wellington, don't talk to the council. Let the police handle traffic management. It's their job, after all, and if they choose to outsource it to a contractor, that's on them.