Anti-mandate protest: Lawyer says trespassing former MP Matt King from Parliament is 'absolutely outrageous'

A lawyer says former National MP Matt King being trespassed from Parliament grounds is "absolutely outrageous". 

Matt King, who held the Northland electorate for National between 2017 and 2020, revealed on Monday he had been banned from entering the parliamentary precinct for two years. A letter sent to King, and seen by Newshub, confirms he could be imprisoned for up to three months if he enters the grounds. 

The former MP, who has since launched his own party, spoke at the protest at Parliament that was held in February and early March. Attendees set up camp on the grounds and blocked surrounding streets while rallying against vaccine mandates and other COVID restrictions. They stayed for weeks despite police, the Speaker and MPs telling them to leave. 

King told Newshub on Monday that the notice was "pretty pathetic and undemocratic". 

Speaking with AM on Tuesday, lawyer Chris Patterson agreed, saying it was completely unacceptable for him to be trespassed. 

"It's absolutely outrageous trespassing any New Zealander from a public space. If you're going to engage in antisocial and unlawful behaviour that's different but protesting is an important part of running a democracy," Patterson said. 

He said New Zealanders, in general, are often apathetic and any lawful protesting should be encouraged. 

King isn't the only one to receive a trespass notice. Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has also been trespassed after attending the protest. 

Peters said he found out on Monday night that Speaker Trevor Mallard had trespassed him from Parliament's grounds for two years.

"New Zealanders should not put up with this type of totalitarian behaviour from the Speaker - nor should the Prime Minister or Parliament," Peters said in a statement. 

"It is because of this that I have taken legal advice and will continue to do so. Speaker Mallard has lost the plot and will continue to do so if he thinks he can enforce his unreasonable and unlawful decision."

The Prime Minister and National's leader have both resisted answering whether the trespass is appropriate. 

Asked on Tuesday, Jacinda Ardern said it was "entirely a matter for the Speaker".

"I see it as entirely as a matter for the Speaker how he chooses to deal with the aftermath of the protest and the attendance of protesters. 

"Ultimately, the management of the grounds on behalf of all Members of Parliament and all political parties is a matter for the Speaker."

While Christopher Luxon agreed, saying it was an issue for Mallard. 

"Those are issues fundamentally for the Speaker and the trespass laws that are sitting in this place around Parliament," Luxon replied. "My question is, as long as he is treating everyone equally, that is a challenge you've got to ask him."