Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says he's been trespassed from Parliament

Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says he has been trespassed from Parliament.

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

He claims Mallard's "dictatorial behaviour" is "supported by Labour". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Labour leader, on Tuesday morning said decisions about the management of Parliament's grounds lay with the Speaker.

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

"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."

It comes after former National MP Matt King went public on Monday about receiving a trespass notice following his attendance at the anti-vaccine mandate Parliament protest earlier this year. 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

Peters, the New Zealand First leader who lost his seat in Parliament in 2020, toured the protest site one day during February.

"There is a difference between those protesters who were legally, peacefully, and rightfully there, with those who we saw, in the end, being violent and displaying clearly criminal behaviour," Peters said in his statement.

"There is also a difference between those who were on parliamentary grounds taking an active part in the protest - and those who were not. 

"Remember the protestors asked me to come and speak with them - as they had asked every single current Member of Parliament who had refused to."

Peters questioned if others, such as members of the media, who walked on the site during the protest would also be trespassed. He said it was "astonishing" that former MPs, including some planning to run against the Government at the next election, were being trespassed.

The next election will be held sometime next year, meaning before the two-year trespass notice is up.

Asked on Tuesday morning if it was appropriate for former MPs to be trespassed, Ardern said it wasn't a decision for her.

"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," the Prime Minister said.

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

Christopher Luxon, the National Party leader, said King is no longer a member of National - King resigned earlier this year and launched his own party - and the decision to send him a trespass notice was one for the Speaker.

"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."

Other high-profile personalities such as former New Conservatives leader Leighton Baker and musician Jason Kerrison also attended the protest.

At the time, Ardern said Peters' visit to Parliament demonstrated "the strong distance that sits between us on these issues". Labour took power in 2017 after gaining the support of Peters' New Zealand First.