Green Party co-leader James Shaw confirms 'small fracture' in eye socket from assault

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has confirmed he has a "small fracture" in the bone of his eye socket after being attacked

He also revealed that his colleagues, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, have received death threats in the past. 

"Marama and Golriz get quite a lot of death threats and a lot of violent social media directed towards them and so I have been worried for their safety far more than for my own," he said on Friday. 

The Climate Change Minister spoke publicly for the first time on Friday since the attack on Thursday outside the Wellington Botanic Gardens while he was walking to Parliament. 

He went to Wellington Hospital after the attack, and he confirmed speculation that the attacker damaged his eye which was evident by the significant facial bruising. 

"I feel fine. I have a bit of a sore head and a lot of people have these sorts of incidents and come off a lot worse than I do," Shaw said. 

"I have to say, my wife, my family and the staff here at the office were all quite shaken up by it, probably more than I was, because I knew how I was but they didn't. I'm upset about that. 

James Shaw addressing media in Parliament.
James Shaw addressing media in Parliament. Photo credit: Newshub
James Shaw and Finance Minister Grant Robertson outside Parliament.
James Shaw and Finance Minister Grant Robertson outside Parliament. Photo credit: Newshub

"I've got a small fracture in the bone of my eye socket. I don't have any loss of vision or anything like that but it is something to be a bit careful about."

Shaw, 45, said he couldn't disclose any details about the attack as it now before the courts. A 47-year-old man was charged over the attack and is due to appear in court on Friday. 

The attack has raised concerns about the protection of MPs. After all, the Prime Minister and acting prime ministers are the only ministers to get the Diplomatic Protection Service's round-the-clock armed protection. 

But Shaw said he didn't think procedures should be change based on one incident. He said one of the greatest things about New Zealand's political culture "is that we are open and accessible". 

"I like being open and accessible. I like the fact that I can walk to work and I intend to keep doing so," he said, adding that his wife Annabel walked with him to Parliament on Friday. 

"We live in a society where these things happen," Shaw added, before going on to thank people for the messages of support he received since the attack. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern echoed Shaw's sentiment on Thursday, saying New Zealand is unique in that politicians are accessible, but she also said we "can't take that for granted". 

"When you go into politics in New Zealand you just don't expect these things to happen, and I know it will be especially challenging for loved ones."

Newshub was told on Thursday that Shaw described to ministerial colleagues the attacker yelled something about the United Nations. But he could not confirm this on Friday due to the on-going investigation. 

Shaw spoke to media after giving his first public speech outside Parliament since the attack. He spoke to students striking over climate change and demanding more Government action. 

Shaw said he was committed to seeing the Zero Carbon Bill passed in 2019.

"Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time; in fact, it is the greatest challenge of all time."