Coronavirus: Gang members doing 'wheelies' at anti-vax protest worry Judith Collins

Judith Collins says she tries to ignore threats of violence from extremists, but the situation on Tuesday "certainly was unusual". 

Thousands of protesters descended on Parliament in the morning, spouting anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine messages, flying Trump flags and promoting a range of unfounded conspiracy theories. 

Security was at unprecedented levels, after organisers of the event promoted it as "9/11 for Ardern & the Labour Government" on social media, and threats of violence comparable to the January 6 Capitol riot in the US were made on Telegram, an app popular with the far-right and conspiracy theorists because of its lack of moderation.

"It's certainly the most security I've ever seen at Parliament," Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday. "But what we saw was a peaceful protest."

There were no arrests made on the day, but police said they are considering "follow-up enforcement action", considering "so many people chose to ignore various alert level requirements designed to keep us all safe".

Collins blamed gang members for disrupting Parliament employees' work, however.

"There were wheelies being done outside Parliament by some gang members - it was some Head Hunters, is what I was told. So that sort of thing is a little more disconcerting. 

"We've always been in favour of peaceful protest for people but it's also about being respectful for other people's workplaces. We've got about 1200 people who work there, and they need to be able to come and go out of Parliament." 

AM Show host Ryan Bridge corrected Collins, saying the alleged gang members were doing burnouts, not wheelies. 

A report released on Tuesday found there had been a rapid increase in the amount of disinformation spreading online since the Delta outbreak began, tied in with escalating violent rhetoric linked to extremist far-right groups - much of it misogynist and directed at the Prime Minister, including death threats.

Collins said when she gets threats, she passed them onto the police.

"I go about my business and try not to think about things like that or stop myself doing what I need to do - representing people in Papakura and doing my job as leader of the National Party."

The last New Zealand MP to be physically attacked was Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who was given a black eye on his way to work in March 2019. Last week Labour MP Ingrid Leary's electorate office in south Dunedin was covered in offensive graffiti related to her support for trans rights, and earlier this year a man smashed windows at the Beehive with an axe.