Winston Peters defiant despite Parliament trespass

By Tini Molyneux

Former deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is typically bullish in his reaction to being trespassed from parliament over the anti-mandate occupation on the grounds earlier this year.

He told he's "not going to take this" in response to the two-year ban from the precinct he worked at for nearly 50 years.

"This trespass action is both unreasonable and unlawful. We intend to prove that. It's a nullity. I'm not really concerned about what they're trying to do."

Peters, who served almost 40 years in Parliament, met protestors during the month-long protest, after trespass notices were issued against those camping on Parliament's lawn. 

He has slammed the trespass order, which he alleges has come at the direction of Trevor Mallard, as dictatorial, and likened it to actions seen in "banana republics".

"You don't expect a first-world democracy, one of the oldest of nine countries in the whole world to have this sort of behaviour coming out of their Parliament and Parliament's speaker. All parties in Parliament are responsible for this action now. He's their chosen choice and they've got to do something about it."

'Pretty extraordinary situation'

Another Northland-based former MP, Matt King, has also been trespassed after attending the protest. The former National member confirmed he is one of a number of people issued with a trespass, and the possibility of a $1000 fine, or two months in jail if they entered Parliament's precinct.

National leader Christopher Luxon said the decision is for the Speaker to make, and he expects Mallard and Parliamentary Services had sought expert advice before issuing trespass notices to former MPs.

"It's got some pretty serious implications. You've got a former deputy Prime Minister who could potentially be running in a 2023 election. I'm sure the Speaker has received endless advice and has made a decision based on that advice."

Meanwhile, National's Covid-19 response spokesperson, Chris Bishop, says Peters' trespass is a "pretty extraordinary situation".

"And it has pretty deep constitutional implications. We're going to be inquiring with the Speaker about what legal advice he has taken.

"I don't like the guy too much but he has been a deputy prime minister on two occasions, one of our long-standing MPs. He just visited the forecourt and he didn't camp out at the protest. 

"There are quite worrying implications for members of parliament, former members and former deputy Prime Ministers, long-serving MPs being trespassed for visiting a parliamentary protest."

However, Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi, who was labelled a "'show pony" by the New Zealand First leader, was unsympathetic to Peters plight.

"If he was comfortable to go and be part of the occupation, then you have to reap the consequences of that. So if that's what's come out of this House, he has been banned from two years, well that's got nothing to do with us. I'm not surprised by it but you have to pay consequences for your actions."

Peters says he is seeking legal advice about the trespass.

-Additional reporting by James Perry