25 Aug 2022

Speaker apologises for issuing Winston Peters with trespass notice

5:00 pm on 25 August 2022

The Speaker of the House has apologised for issuing a trespass notice to former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

Ex-speaker of the house Trevor Mallard watches as new Speaker Adrian Rurawhe starts his role

Parliament's former Speaker Trevor Mallard Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The apology was issued by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Adrian Rurawhe was elected Speaker yesterday but the original matter involved his predecessor Trevor Mallard.

The apology has been shared the day after Mallard resigned to take up a diplomatic posting in Ireland.

"The Speaker of the House of Representatives has apologised for a trespass notice issued to former Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Winston Peters. The Speaker has also retracted and apologised for comments which related to Mr Peters in a 4 May press release," the apology said.

"The Speaker has admitted to the High Court at Wellington that the exercise of power under section 26(2) of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000 to issue Mr Peters a warning under section 4 of the Trespass Act 1980 was unreasonable and irrational.

"He has further admitted to the High Court that issuing the warning was an unjustified limitation on Mr Peters' right to freedom of movement under section 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and that Mr Peters had not acted in any way which justified him being issued with the warning."

Peters was among several high-profile people who were issued trespass notices for attending the 23-day occupation on Parliament's grounds in February and early March.

Mallard was Speaker at the time, and withdrew the notices not long after they were issued, but Peters said he would still seek a judicial review of the decision to trespass him.

"It is my intention to seek a precedent on behalf of the hundreds of others who were unreasonably and therefore unlawfully trespassed for peacefully protesting," Peters said in May.

The Speaker has admitted to the High Court in Wellington the warning was "unreasonable and irrational" and "an unjustifiable limitation" on Peters' right to freedom of movement.

The High Court's decision is pending.

Winston Peters visits protestors at Parliament

Winston Peters visited anti-mandate protesters at Parliament in February this year (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

In response to the apology, Peters said he took legal action "not for myself, but on behalf of the people of New Zealand to make a stand and fight for our fundamental freedoms, rights, and to protect our democracy."

The actions taken by Mallard were a "disgraceful indictment on the position and responsibility he had as the Speaker of our House," Peters said.

Clarification: This story initially stated the apology was issued by Trevor Mallard. This was incorrect and has been amended.

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