Coronavirus: Anti-masker lambasted for 'attention seeking' protest on Christchurch bus

A Christchurch man has been blasted for an "attention-seeking" bus protest where he refused to wear a mask, occupied the doorway of the vehicle holding flags and demanded to be fined.

Adam Nuttall posted a video of his protest to YouTube on Monday, which was subsequently shared on Reddit. He says he wanted to "get fined for not wearing a mask on public transport".

Despite masks being mandatory on public transport in alert level 2, the video, labelled "testing Cindy's mask mandate", shows Nuttall getting on the bus maskless, holding the original New Zealand flag of United Tribes, and the current NZ flag. He compares his actions to that of US Black civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who famously refused to give up her seat for a white passenger in the 1950s. 

"I accept that some people will be upset at my actions and I would like to draw your attention to my simple demand that the threatened enforcement action be taken and a fine issued," he wrote.

He says the police were called but didn't show up until after he had vacated the bus. The video later shows three officers approaching him outside Christchurch's bus exchange.

"If the Government had been ready to enforce this 'mandate' on the first day then this protest would have been over in a few minutes," Nuttall says.

Also seen in the video are people queuing behind him wearing masks and waiting to board the bus. Commenters online have slammed him as "not smart" and "entitled".

"What an absolute attention seeking loser," one Reddit user said.

"The fact he compares his protest to that of Rosa Parks highlights his complete ignorance," another wrote.

Nuttall refers to a High Court ruling last month that found the first nine days of New Zealand's alert level 4 lockdown in March were technically illegal, "How do we know the mask mandate is not the same?" he wrote.

He told Newshub he doesn't plan to comply with the face covering mandate in the future.

"My only demand on Monday was to be fined for not wearing a mask," he said.

"We are planning further actions to protest the mask mandate."

Environment Canterbury, which operates Christchurch's bus services, says the incident is disappointing.

"The vast majority of our passengers have been doing the right thing and wearing their face coverings as required," a spokesperson told Newshub.

"We are following central Government guidance on implementing the mandatory face coverings rule.

"While our drivers can remind passengers to put on their face covering when boarding, there are some exemptions to this rule, and our drivers are not required to enforce wearing of masks - and neither are other passengers."

The spokesperson said bus services were relying on people taking personal responsibility. The "main party" involved in the protest was trespassed from the bus exchange.

"Police received a report of a small group of people refusing to leave the Christchurch bus interchange," a police spokesperson told Newshub.

"When officers arrived the group had left, however police spoke with the main party involved, who was trespassed from the bus interchange."

Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Chambers told The AM Show on Monday most people were being compliant with mask-wearing.