17 Feb 2022

No confidence in Ardern - Dame Tariana Turia

From Lately, 10:17 pm on 17 February 2022

Former Labour Party MP Dame Tariana Turia says she has no confidence in Jacinda Ardern and says her government's treatment of the protesters at Parliament is an abuse of its powers.

Dame Tariana Turia

Dame Tariana Turia says she believes politicians should talk to the protesters. Photo: RNZ

Dame Tariana resigned from the Labour Party in 2004 over the Foreshore and Seabed Act and went on to co-lead the Māori Party.  

She told Karyn Hay on Lately that she sympathises with the protesters and stands with them and not the government.

"Because I don't think any government has any right to dictate to sectors of New Zealand who disagree with them."

She described the use of sprinklers, loud music and floodlights during the protest as "bullying behaviour".

Dame Tariana said the government came out and talked to protesters during the Foreshore and Seabed protest which was a more respectful way to deal with people and was appreciated by the protesters.

"I think we have every right to be heard, I think that anyone who is behaving like the government is right now are abusing their power," Dame Tariana said.

"I think that people who believe strongly in an issue and who come down to Parliament where the power of the country is, I believe that the one respect we should show them is to be heard."

Dame Tariana said Speaker Trevor Mallard will do whatever he thinks is necessary without taking heed of the consequences for those who are not part of the government.

She said in principle she is against mandates.

"We trust people to do what we know to be best for themselves and you know to say that everybody has to do a particular action and it's dictated by the government. I don't think they've got any right ever to dictate to the people."

Dame Tariana said she has no confidence in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She said Ardern and Mallard have no right to treat New Zealanders in the way that they are treating them and believes they have overstepped their mark.

"I certainly believe that Trevor Mallard as the speaker of the House and his behaviour towards the protest movement has been totally out of line, I've never seen it before actually, I've never ever seen the Crown behave like that."

Dame Tariana said it was tantamount to bullying.

She said the protesters should be there for as long as they think is necessary.

Dame Tariana said she is proud of the way the police have handled the protest and they have been "very restrained". She said she has been told by some protesters the police have been respectful.

Dame Tariana is not vaccinated. She said she has had ill health and her children asked her not to get vaccinated.

She said given that she decided her best option was to remain unvaccinated and avoid entering places where being vaccinated was required.