Parliament’s security team has drawn up a list of recognisable attendees of the Wellington occupation and sent out trespass notices independently, Marc Daalder reports
Former MPs have been trespassed from Parliament grounds for attending the Wellington occupation in February and March.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and ex-National MP Matt King have revealed trespass letters sent by Parliament’s security team in recent days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on the trespasses when asked on Tuesday morning, saying it was the responsibility of Speaker Trevor Mallard.
“Ultimately, the management of the grounds on behalf of all members of Parliament and all political parties is a matter for the Speaker,” Ardern said.
Despite this, Mallard told Newsroom he didn’t make the decisions himself. Instead, authority to trespass people has been delegated to Parliament’s security team, which Newsroom understands has drawn up a list of recognisable attendees of the occupation.
Peters and King have both taken direct aim at the Speaker. In a social media post on Monday, King said the decision was “yet another breach of our democracy, a total suppression of free speech – and just the way this Govt tries to control and stop people from speaking up for what’s right”.
King said he was clear about promoting a peaceful presence during his time at the protest, and he did not break any laws by being there.
“It’s quite clear the Speaker has no grasp of Latin or the law, for that matter,” Peters told Newsroom. He added that the one thing he agreed with Ardern on what that the decisions should be Mallard’s responsibility.
In a separate press release decrying the trespass decision, the New Zealand First leader said the Speaker’s “dictatorial behaviour, supported by Labour, should be reserved for third world banana republics”.
However, Newsroom understands that none of the high-profile trespasses were presented to Mallard and he has neither proposed any specific individuals be trespassed or prevented notices from being issued to anyone.
In response to a request for comment, Mallard said “the decisions are made by delegated authority”. Newsroom has reached out to the Parliamentary Service for comment.