Council demands explanation from police over protesters flushing toilets

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has demanded an explanation from police about how protesters were able to build a fully functional toilet that flushes sewage into the city’s sewage system.

The two makeshift toilets are located in the middle of the intersection of Molesworth and Hill streets. Two others were under construction before the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Those who built the toilets used power tools and large sheets of plywood. A man helping with the construction declined to comment but said there were people of all trades at the occupation.

Wellington City Council confirmed that the toilet drained into the sewage system, not the storm sewer.

“This is clearly an illegal connection,” council spokesman Richard MacLean said.

Due to the volatile nature of the occupation, the council was advised against sending staff to inspect toilets by police, due to the risk to their health and safety, MacLean said.

READ MORE:
* Most recent occupation: Three protesters in hospital with Covid, sewers in city sewers
* Sewage tests underway as sewage was dumped into street sewers by anti-warrant protesters

Two toilets built by protesters are in the middle of the Molesworth and Hill St.

Monique Ford / Stuff

Two toilets built by protesters are in the middle of the Molesworth and Hill St.

“We also note that connecting to the sewer system means sewage does not enter the port. We are discussing the issue with police and other agencies and reviewing our options,” MacLean said.

Greater Wellington chairman Darren Ponter said he sent a ‘please explain’ message to police asking how this could have happened.

Police have been approached for comment.

On Thursday, police said they were only allowing essential supplies such as food and sanitation to be hooked up from the perimeter.

The toilet block has been named

George Block / Stuff

The toilet block was named “The Peehive” and painted on the inside.

“Police are not allowing any vehicles, tents or other equipment to enter the cordon,” they said.

Ponter said the council would investigate the plumbing with iwi, the police, Wellington City Council and Wellington Water and was “deeply disturbed” by the images of the toilets.

Authorities have previously warned that sewage is being discharged into storm sewers and contaminating Wellington Harbor and last week told people to stay out of the harbour.

Meanwhile, two protesters yesterday began building a treehouse in front of the Beehive.

Two more toilets were under construction on Sunday.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Two more toilets were under construction on Sunday.

The men, who declined to be named, said they were building it for people to use as a platform to avoid police, should officers try to clear the site.

“I’m building this basically because I can f…ing can,” one said. He thought the police couldn’t use a taser on anyone in the treehouse.

Police issued a warning on Sunday: “The aggressive behavior of the protesters, the extremely poor sanitary conditions, the confirmed presence of Covid-19 and the number of sick people among the group create a dangerous and unpleasant environment for anyone considering joining the activity. .”

A treehouse is being built on Parliament grounds by protesters.

George Block / Stuff

A treehouse is being built on Parliament grounds by protesters.

Regional public health has confirmed that seven people linked to the protest have tested positive for Covid-19 and three have been hospitalized.

Elna M. Lemons