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‘Absolute shambles’: Peters confirms drop of trespass order

Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has confirmed that an trespassing order barring him from entering Parliament for two years has been withdrawn by the Speaker of the House.

Five trespassing orders were dropped today after Trevor Mallard issued the restraining orders for people who attended the 23-day occupation of Parliament grounds.

This afternoon, Peters confirmed he was one of five to have their trespassing orders revoked.

“I learned that the trespassing notice issued to me was withdrawn at 1:39 p.m. today,” Peters said in a statement.

“It would not have taken the threat of a judicial review for the speaker to come to his senses and understand the law he wanted to enforce.”

Peters said the issue had “been an absolute mess” and had caused several people unnecessary anguish and expense.

There were five former MPs at the protest: Peters had gone with Darroch Ball. Others were former Law MP Stephen Franks, former Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox and former National MP Matt King.

King confirmed to Newstalk ZB that his review had also been withdrawn. ball told The New Zealand Herald he had received a trespassing notice and he had now been removed.

Peters said if his trespass order was withdrawn, he would have personal grounds to pursue a judicial review action over it.

“I am happy [the Speaker] came to his senses on the matter, albeit following an action for judicial review.”

However, he said that while only former MPs had had their trespass notices withdrawn, ‘it does not change my serious concern that we now appear to have two rules applied to different people’.

Mallard said today that 151 trespass notices have been issued in relation to the occupation. Of these, 144 concerned people arrested by the police.

Seven other bans were imposed on “persons of interest”. Now, five of those seven reviews had been withdrawn.

Indeed, these five people were now considered unlikely to seriously offend or incite others to commit serious offenses, the president said.

“As reported, a meeting last night of the Parliamentary Services Committee 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 decision came after growing pressure from MPs, including the Premier of Mallard, to take a more lenient stance on trespass orders.

“I know the President is rightly working on enforcing these trespass notices,” Jacinda Ardern said this afternoon.

“The question must be asked whether some people’s behavior was more egregious than others,” the Prime Minister added.

“I imagine all the party leaders may have passed on their comments. I’m no different in that respect,” Ardern said.

“I just made suggestions and shared thoughts on how you could potentially differentiate between very different forms of participation here.”

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

“It’s fair to say that what happened here was unprecedented, so it takes a bit of work to come to terms with it.”

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

House Leader Chris Hipkins said Mallard had asked MPs for additional comments.

“There were other conversations last night.”

Hipkins said he was unaware of all of these comments.

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

This would take into account issues such as why a person was on the ground and their actions while there.

Mallard said today that further trespass notices for other people are still possible.

At the start of the occupation, Cabinet Secretary Willie Jackson said he spoke to protesters at the site. He said the protesters parked near his accommodation, so he had no choice.

Jackson said the challenge for Mallard now was to draw the line on who should be intruding.

“I would have thought that those who were violent in the end, there was no reason for them to be prosecuted,” he said.

“Winston maybe appreciates the publicity. He was languishing a bit in the polls and all of a sudden he has this.

“Unfortunately, we could see it all over TV and radio… It’s not his choice, but some would say it might be one of the best ads he could ever get.”