By NICK PERRY
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Hundreds of people protesting vaccine and mask mandates drove in convoy to New Zealand’s capital and converged outside Parliament as lawmakers reconvened after a summer break. The mostly unmasked protesters had driven from around the country, and their vehicles clogged the central city streets for hours. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern elected not to meet with them as she delivered a speech to lawmakers outlining her priorities for the year. New Zealand was spared the worst of the pandemic after it closed its borders and implemented strict lockdowns, limiting the spread of the virus. The nation has reported just 53 virus deaths among its population of 5 million.