Feb 20 • 15M

Dawn chorus: Police concreting protestors in

Police now blocking off roads around Parliament with huge concrete blocks, sparking scuffles; CPAG calls for early benefit cash; Massive move by Australian climate-activist billionaire to buy AGL

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TLDR & TLDL: More than 300 Police officers began placing huge concrete blocks on roads around Parliament at 3.30 am this morning to stop more cars arriving to extend the protest blockage. PM Jacinda Ardern denied this morning she was planning to use emergency powers to end the protest.

Elsewhere in the news this morning:

  • child poverty activists are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward a benefit increase scheduled for April to help feed isolated families (CPAG);

  • tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has launched an audacious takeover bid for Australia’s largest oil and gas emitter AGL in order to shut down its emissions early (SMH); (see more on these two below the paywall fold) and,

  • Russian troops have widened their encirclement of Ukraine ahead of an invasion expected within hours, now Beijing’s Winter Olympics has finished (CNN).

The festival atmosphere at the protest is changing, with the police blocking off the Parliamentary precinct and surrounding streets in a move expected to prevent food stalls and other suppliers setting up and stop more cars arriving. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty Images

Coming up today, I’ll be covering the post-Cabinet news conference from the Beehive. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in. I welcome questions and lines of inquiry from paid subscribers in the comments below.

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