Headquarters owner Leo Molloy says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 'deserves to be harassed' over COVID-19 response

A controversial Auckland bar owner believes the Prime Minister and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield "deserve to be harassed" over their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leo Molloy, owner of Headquarters Bar in the Viaduct, was speaking to Magic Talk guest host John Banks on Monday. Banks told Molloy that while he's taking over the radio show this week, he is "harassing people who deserve to be harassed". He then asks Molloy: "Is there anyone out there that deserves to be harassed that you'd like to harass over the wireless this afternoon?"

Molloy, who last week directed a series of vicious messages at Jacinda Ardern over the reopening of bars under alert level 2, took a swing at the Prime Minister.

"I think you should have a chat to the Prime Minister about her orchestrated hysteria that's attributed to this disastrous collapse of the economy and not mention the collapse of the social fabric, the suicides," he says.

"There are some stories circulating about people who have committed suicide as a result of what's happened with this lockdown. Those facts have to be ascertained as of yet, but she's certainly worth being asked the question."

Both the Mental Health Foundation and the Ministry of Health said earlier in May there is "no evidence" suicide statistics in New Zealand have risen as a result of lockdown.

Molloy then says Dr Bloomfield should also be on Banks' list of those who "deserve to be harassed" because he reports "falsely". He says Dr Bloomfield is reporting false positive cases as new positives, even though "he knows they're not".

"I don't know why he's doing that, but presumably he's been told to do it, because part of the Government policy is to scare the living hell out of everyone on the basis that you're compliant and stay at home."

He adds that both him and Banks are "quite well-educated" in seeing through what politicians say, whereas the "majority of people" aren't and they "believe the rubbish" that's said in the daily press conferences.

Molloy's comments follow a Facebook rant he posted last week after Ardern explained that pubs and nightclubs would remain closed until May 21 under level 2. She said the Government made this decision in response to South Korea, which saw a fresh flare-up of COVID-19 cases as a result of reopening its bars and nightclubs. 

That didn't go down well with Molloy, who said her explanation was made up of "lies and half-truths".

In an anger-filled post - which Molloy didn't explicitly say he wrote, but was in the distinctive all-caps style seen on his personal Facebook page - he claimed South Korea's outbreak wasn't caused by bars like his, but rather by "gay dungeon bars".

That post on the Headquarters page was deleted after patrons threatened to boycott the bar.