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
Jacinda Ardern has asked House Speaker Trevor Mallard to consult other political parties over trespass notices issued to former MPs.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and ex-National MP Matt King have revealed trespass letters sent by Parliament’s security team over their presence at the Wellington occupation in February and March.
The Prime Minister said on Tuesday afternoon that she had spoken to Mallard, after initially declining to comment.
“Ultimately, this is a decision for the Speaker but we’ve spoken this afternoon. I’ve encouraged him to give the opportunity for all of the parties within Parliament to discuss the issue and see if we can reach some consensus about how the issue of trespass notices and how they apply to everyone should be issued.”
Ardern said Mallard would convene the all-party Parliamentary Service Commission later on Tuesday.
Until Tuesday, Mallard hadn’t been involved in the specific decision-making, he told Newsroom. 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 was that the decisions should be Mallard’s responsibility.
ACT Party leader David Seymour also said he thought the decisions should be made by Mallard. Green Party co-leader James Shaw disagreed, saying that if Mallard made the calls, they would be attacked as political.
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.