BREAKING NEWS @ 3.08PM: We can officially report a mob of around fifty people are blocking New Plymouth's one way system causing severe traffic delays.
The protesters, who took over both lanes of Vivian St, were put at risk when there was an outbreak of roadrage among some of motorists trying to force their way past.
A few drove up on the footpath to get around them while others swore at the group out of their windows.
There was no sign of police.
Marchers carried placards saying ''We've had enough'' and ''leases cripple''.
The responded to the call: ''Are we going to pay our leases? with a resounding: ''No.''
''Are we going to have a good Christmas?
Waitara leaseholder and spokesman for the group Eric Williams said the protest was just the tip of the iceberg. Ongoing civil action, such as disrupting the international cricket matches at Pukekura Park were planned, he said.
They were aware of two attempted suicides as a direct result of the lease increases, he said.
Another elderly man who could not afford the increase was threatening to torch his house.
Only two years ago the leases were about $2000 a year, the same as rates, but since then they had skyrocketed from to $5000, he said.
infonews.co.nz is currently working to find more, more to follow...
CHRISTMAS TRAFFIC CHAOS HIT NEW PLYMOUTH
infonews.co.nz can confirm Taranaki and New Plymouth in particular is receiving "more then usual" visitors this Christmas period and today where gridlock has already begun.
"It just got busy all of a sudden" a New Plymouth resident emailed us.
Generally traffic does not get backed up till around 5pm and 6pm but now experts are saying the region will be "uncontrollable".
In the last three hours an extra four hundred visitors had swarmed into New Plymouth causing delays on the roads through out the city.
"This is the largest amount of gridlock I have seen in New Plymouth, ever" Andrea R told us.
At 5pm New Plymouth residents have been told to prepare to be swarmed as the Christmas season officially begins for most New Zealand residents and most businesses close.
They've been told to take extra care on the roads, drive stress free and keep a look out.
One webcam looking at the CBD of New Plymouth from internet provider Primo Wireless Taranaki today proved that the CBD is taking a traffic battering with delays throughout the main street.
"If you are heading to Taranaki, New Plymouth in particular, try to delay to an later time. The city is experiencing a large amount of visitors that was not planned." infonews.co.nz was told by an NZTA expert.
It is currently dry in all places Metservice told infonews.co.nz and this is adding to the extra vehicles on the roads.
The windiest city currently is New Plymouth, while the hottest in the country according to Metservice is Ashburton.
However, back to traffic chaos around the nation where Auckland seems to be getting a hit as usual, as ONENews.co.nz reports below.
GRIDLOCK EASING IN AUCKLAND - ONENews.co.nz
Roads in central Auckland have re-opened following an incident close to the Harbour Bridge.
Reports of a man on the bridge on-ramp caused a major traffic jam at Victoria Tunnel, which is now easing.
Police say the man has since been removed.
Both the north and southbound lanes on State Highway 1 at St Mary's Bay have re-opened.
Long delays are expected and the New Zealand Transport Agency recommends drivers avoid the area or delay their trips if possible.
WELLINGTON FEELING SUMMER - infonews.co.nz
Wellington also has an un-expected Christmas gridlock issue on the roads as many families leave the city Northbound.
"However, we still believe that Wellington is coping with the traffic delays" the council told infonews.co.nz