Winston Peters calls for Speaker no confidence vote after trespass order dropped

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 2:49pm

Winston Peters calls for Speaker no confidence vote after trespass order dropped

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 2:49pm

Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has called for Speaker Trevor Mallard to face an immediate vote of no confidence, after a trespass order banning him from Parliament for two years was withdrawn today. 

Five trespass orders were dropped after Mallard issued the bans for people who attended the 23-day occupation of Parliament's grounds. 

Peters this afternoon confirmed he was one of the five whose orders were withdrawn, calling the process an "outrageous insult". 

"Surely a current Member of Parliament can stand up and do their duty and move a motion of no confidence." 


Peters said earlier the trespass notice has been withdrawn "as at 1.39pm today". 

"It should not have taken the threat of a judicial review for the Speaker to come to his senses and an understanding of the law that he wanted to enforce." 

Peters said the issue has "been an absolute shambles", and caused people unnecessary anguish and expense. 

Peters said if his trespass order had not been withdrawn, he would have the personal grounds to continue with a judicial review action over it. 

"I'm glad [the Speaker] has come to his common sense on it, albeit as a result of a judicial review action." 

However, he said if it was only former MPs who had their trespass notices retracted "it does not change my serious concern that now we seem to have two rules being applied to different people". 

Six former MPs were known to have been at the protest. Peters had gone with former NZ First list MP Darroch Ball. 

Others were former Act MPs Stephen Franks and Rodney Hide, former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox and former National MP Matt King. 

King confirmed to NZME his notice had also been withdrawn. Ball told the Herald his also had been withdrawn. 

Fox confirmed to NZME she received a notice today to say her trespass notice was withdrawn, but said she never got the original notice. 

Rodney Hide said he received an email today saying a trespass notice made last Thursday had been withdrawn. 

But the email was a surprise - because Hide said he never received the notice and had no idea how it was sent. 

The former Minister of Local Government said the situation was tyrannical and shambolic. 

"That's the trouble with it. Tyranny has now become permanent." 

Hide said it should be for the courts to decide who might be guilty of rioting or arson or related crimes, but even people convicted should not be trespassed. 

"You can be a convicted murderer and you've still got the right to protest." 

Hide said Mallard was supposed to act on behalf of all New Zealanders but instead seemed to be protecting the current Government. 

NZ First leader Winston Peters among the protesters on February 22. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

Mallard today said 151 trespass notices were issued in relation to the occupation. Of those, 144 were for people police arrested. 

And then another seven bans were issued to "persons of interest". Now five of those seven notices have been withdrawn because those five people were thought unlikely to seriously offend or incite others to commit serious offences, the Speaker said. 

The Herald understands 252 people have been arrested so far in relation to the 23-day occupation of Parliament grounds and police are analysing about 17 terabytes of data of video and photo content. 

"As has been reported, a meeting last night of the Parliamentary Service Commission established a general consensus that former MPs should be treated on the same basis as other members of the public," Mallard added. 

The Speaker's move came after increasing pressure from MPs including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for Mallard to take a more lenient stand on the trespass orders. 

"I know the Speaker is doing some work around the application of those trespass notices rightly," Ardern said this afternoon. 

"The question has to be asked over whether or not some people's behaviour was more egregious than others," the PM added. 

"I imagine all party leaders have possibly passed on feedback. I'm no different in that regard," Ardern said. 

"I've simply made suggestions and shared thoughts on how you could differentiate between what was very different forms of participation here." 

She said most people would probably agree that those who threw bricks or threatened people should be trespassed. 

"It's fair to say what happened here was unprecedented. So it does take a bit of work to come through the aftermath of that." 

Ardern said Mallard was working through the issues, to the best of his ability, on behalf of Parliament. 

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said Mallard had asked for further feedback from MPs. 

"There were some further conversations last night." 

Hipkins said he was not privy to all that feedback. 

Ardern had previously said she had expressed her view to Mallard that a more discretionary approach could be taken. 

That would take into account issues such as the reasons someone was on the grounds and their actions while there. 

Mallard today said more trespass notices for other people were still possible. 

Early in the occupation, Cabinet minister Willie Jackson said he'd spoken to some protesters at the site. He said protesters parked up near his accommodation so he had no option. 

Jackson said the challenge for Mallard was now drawing the line on who should be trespassed. 

"I would have thought that the ones who were violent at the end, there was a no-brainer in terms of them being prosecuted," he said. 

"Winston might be enjoying the publicity. He'd been languishing a bit in the polls and all of a sudden he's got this. 

"Sadly we might see him all over the TV and radio. It's not his choice but some would say it's maybe some of the best publicity he could ever get." 

National Party Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop said the Speaker had "gone too far" with the notices. 

"If you camped out for four weeks and set the grass and slide on fire, you're treated the same as someone who wandered down for an hour or so if they can identify you. 

"He needs to use his discretion about whom he issues trespass orders for." 

Act Party leader David Seymour said earlier the Speaker's trespass notices to former MPs would have likely failed legal tests. 

"You've got to give notices to people individually at the time. And trespass notice can't unreasonably restrict people's right to freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights. 

"I predict that putting these restrictions on a wide range of people, I won't mention any names, all they did was walk around and express and exchange information. They'll be open to legal challenge. We'll spend years in court over this."