14 Sep 2023

Restore Passenger Rail protesters arrested after Wellington car dealership defaced

3:55 pm on 14 September 2023
A defaced car dealership in Wellington

Three people were arrested following the incident. Photo: Restore Passenger Rail / Supplied

Three climate protesters have been arrested after the shop window of a car dealer in Wellington was vandalised on Thursday afternoon.

Members of the Restore Passenger Rail group, which has blocked several roads in the capital in the last three weeks, said they used red spray paint to deface the facade of Gazley Motor Group on Cambridge Terrace.

The police were called at around 1.40pm after reports of people spray painting the premises and glueing themselves to the footpath.

"Upon police arrival, the three people involved were taken into custody," a spokesperson said.

Protesters talk to police outside a car dealership in Wellington

Police were called to the scene around 1.40pm on Thursday. Photo: Restore Passenger Rail / Supplied

Restore Passenger Rail spokesperson James Cockle said they targeted the car dealer because the car industry was "against sustainable transportation".

"Your luxuries are killing us. The people selling these $200,000 utes and SUVs don't care about our future.

"The obscenely rich are lobbying against us having sustainable transport systems and are turbo-charging the climate crisis with more motorways and more luxury emissions."

Cockle said the climate crisis and inequality should not be addressed as separate issues.

"Our two simple demands are to restore passenger rail nationally and make local public transport free. This allows us to reduce emissions by sharing the resources we have, so that everybody can travel locally and around the country in safety and comfort."

This is the third consecutive week that Restore Passenger Rail has created disruption in central Wellington.

Restore Passenger Rail protest

Restore Passenger Rail said it targeted the car dealer because the car industry was "against sustainable transportation". Photo: Restore Passenger Rail

'Entertaining afternoon' - Gazley Group boss

Oliver Gazley, dealer principal of Gazley Motor Group, said he was inside the store when people ran in front of the building, spraying the glass windows in red paint. He said it looked like a fire extinguisher cannon.

"I walked out to ask them what they were doing, and I actually got sprayed by them as well, at the same time as they were spraying the building.

"I'm not even sure what they're doing. I believe they're protesting against light rail or something."

Gazley said the dealership supported sustainable transport options.

"Maybe they should inspect some of the vehicles that we have, because the majority of them are hybrid and electric vehicles."

He said the protesters refused to explain what was happening.

"They just were spraying the building. I asked them what they were doing and they sprayed me.

"And then I believe they tried to glue their hands to the footpath, but the glue didn't set in time and they were arrested by the police."

Gazley said the company was still looking into the protest's financial impact.

"I haven't even thought about the financial cost at all. I was a little bit shocked as it only just happened in the last hour or so.

"It's been an entertaining afternoon."

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