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Former MP Matt King confirms plan for new anti-mandate party

Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Feb 2022, 3:59pm

Former MP Matt King confirms plan for new anti-mandate party

Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Feb 2022, 3:59pm

Former National Party MP Matt King says he is setting up a new political party to contest the 2023 election after attending the Convoy 2022 protest outside Parliament. 

King resigned his membership of the National Party last week, just before travelling to Wellington to take part in the Convoy protest. He is a spokesman for those in the military and police who have lost their jobs because of vaccine mandates. 

Former National Party MP Matt King at the protest at Parliament. Photo / George Heard 

King said the plans were still at the early stage, but those involved were "credible and have political experience". It also had financial support. 

He would not say who those other people were, or whether they included former New Conservative leader Leighton Baker. Baker is one of those involved at the protest and seen as a leader of one of the protest groups. 

"I believe there is a place in the market for a party that represents a lot of people that are not happy with what's happening at the moment," King said. 

"None of the parties in the current political landscape provide a credible alternative to the status quo. 

He said he had travelled to Wellington because he strongly opposed the vaccine mandates. 

"They are undemocratic. After overwhelming feedback and support, I have begun discussions with an experienced group of people regarding a political party that represents our fundamental rights as Kiwis. After one term in Parliament, I feel I have unfinished business." 

King was the MP for Northland between 2017, when he won the seat from NZ First leader Winston Peters, and 2020 when Labour's Willow Jean Prime won it in Labour's landslide. 

National leader Christopher Luxon has distanced himself from King, saying he did not agree with King's views. 

While he was at the protest, King had said he was disappointed with Luxon's refusal to engage with the protesters. 

All the leaders of political parties at Parliament have refused to visit the protest, although Act leader David Seymour had a private meeting with some of those involved. 

King has called for the protest to be peaceful and offered to be involved in negotiations that could resolve the standoff between police and protesters. 

"I said to them if I could be involved in a negotiated result that was peaceful and everyone that walked away from it was okay with the result, I would come down in a heartbeat." 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has refused to engage, saying it was clear the protesters wanted all of the restrictions that had protected New Zealand from the worst of Covid-19 to be dropped, and that the start of the major Omicron outbreak was not the right time to do that. 

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