Q and A

Deputy PM says she wouldn't have gone to Posie Parker counter-protest

Sun, Mar 26
A trans liberation banner is held up at the Posie Parker counter-protest.

Deputy PM Carmel Sepuloni and National MP Erica Stanford have spoken against the views of anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, after protests around Auckland's CBD yesterday.

Keen-Minshull's planned event on Sunday in Wellington was cancelled by organisers, who said they were unable to provide adequate security.

She has reportedly now left New Zealand early.

Neither Deputy PM Carmel Sepuloni nor National's immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford attended either Keen-Minshull's rally or the counter-protest.

"I wouldn't have gone. But that doesn't mean that I don't support those that are there, and that doesn't mean that I don't support the kaupapa. And what they're standing for.

"We've got different ways in which we voice our views. Mine would not have been to go to the protests," Sepuloni said.

She continued: “In my mind, that woman and her views are abhorrent and actually, in some ways, quite ridiculous. But my personal approach is to just go like this,” added Sepuloni, holding up the palm of her hand.

Regardless of her schedule, Sepuloni said she wouldn’t have gone to Albert Park, saying, “to me, she’s nothing. I think most New Zealanders have more common sense than that woman has.”

“To me personally, I just don’t want to support her, I don’t want to say her name, I don’t want to give her a platform, because I think we’re much more progressive and we’ve moved beyond those views mostly in this country.”

Sepuloni added that she didn’t support the counter-protester who poured tomato juice on Posie Parker.

On whether Immigration Minister Michael Wood should have made a different decision on allowing her into the country, Sepuloni said the Government had just applied the law.

“I think both ways, whichever decision was made, it would have been legally challenged,

"At the end of the day, it’s ultimately the Minister for Immigration and his officials that are responsible for making that call.”

But that suggestion didn’t wash with National’s immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford, who told Q+A that the Immigration Minister had abdicated responsibility.

“He’s tried to have a bob both ways,” said Stanford, arguing it was “complete rubbish” for Wood to say the case hadn’t met the threshold for ministerial intervention.

“If he had rung his officials and said, ‘can I make this decision’, they would have said, ‘yes minister’. It would have been a phone call, and he would have got the file on his desk.”

“If I were the minister, I would’ve asked for that file on my desk, I would’ve taken a look at it, and I would’ve taken the decision.”

Stanford declined to say which way she would have decided if she was Immigration Minister, saying she hadn’t seen the final and so couldn’t make that judgement.

The MP said she wouldn’t have attended the counter-protest, saying, “I wouldn’t have wanted to give her any more airtime than she [Keen-Minshull] deserved.”

“I think this is what this all leads to, is the fact that the Greens started it all off by putting it out into the media.

"If she’d come in under the radar, a few people would have turned up, nobody would have known she was here, and she would have gone, and we’d have carried on our tolerant normal ways as we do in New Zealand.”

Amid the event yesterday, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson was knocked to the ground by a motorcyclist during the events around Auckland, with co-leader James Shaw saying, “it appears a motorcyclist failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing.”

“The Green Party’s commitment to non-violence is at the heart of our founding values. This news is upsetting, and we are asking people to show care and love.”

Several other Green MPs attended the counter-protest in Auckland.

Meanwhile, ACT Party suggested Wood's initial comments that condemned Keen-Minshull were inflammatory.

Deputy leader Brooke van Velden said, “in a civilised country, you counter ideas you don’t like with more speech and debate, not violence and intimidation.”

“Immigration Minister Michael Wood needs to take responsibility for his unprofessional, immature and inflammatory outburst about this event. It did not help promote rational behaviour," she said.

ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden.

“Like many others, Wood has been quick to condemn without thinking about the impact of shutting people down."

Van Velden said: "We risk a divided society where cancel culture spirals out of control."

At the time of the announcement that she would be let in, Wood said he condemned "inflammatory, vile and incorrect worldviews".

Additionally, the Immigration Minister said he would "always stand alongside those New Zealanders who use their own right to free speech against those who wish to take society backwards."

Q+A is Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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