National, Greens, ACT, Labour clash over Posie Parker's rally, freedom of speech

New Zealand's politicians and political parties are reacting after controversial gender activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull - also known as Posie Parker - was forced to flee her rally in Auckland.

Parker was allowed into New Zealand after a failed bid to block her entry from rainbow groups, who feared the potential for violence from her supporters at her events.

On Saturday Parker's supporters gathered in Albert Park to hear her speak, where they were heavily outnumbered by trans-rights supporters.

Pushing broke out between attendees of Parker's rally and the larger counter-protest, and a small fight broke out as Parker made her way through the barricade to speak to the crowd.

Red liquid was thrown over Parker, and she was escorted out of the venue by her security guards after being rushed and sprayed with water.

Labour MP Shanan Halbert attended the protest and told Newshub as chair of Labour's Rainbow caucus, it was important he was there supporting the rainbow community to stand against hate and transphobia.

"I'm so proud of our rainbow community and our allies for coming together in solidarity with our trans whānau," he said.

"I saw an energetic protest. One that stood up for what New Zealand stands for - inclusion and acceptance. I'm pleased that it was largely a safe environment for all."

However ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden said it showed the alternative to free speech is physical violence.

"In a civilised country, you counter ideas you don't like with more speech and debate, not violence and intimidation," she said in a statement.

"Ironically, the group who complained they were going to be the victims of violence ended up being the violent ones."

Van Velden warned we risk a divided society where "cancel culture spirals out of control".

"The only thing that could make this worse if the Government itself had the power to prosecute people for causing offence under so-called hate speech laws," she added.

"Better still, the Government could and should have enforced people's rights to speak and debate freely without resorting to violence."

National's justice spokesperson Paul Goldsmith told Newshub "there is no such thing as free speech if people are allowed to intimidate anyone they don't like".

"National affirms the right to protest but we condemn the use of violence. That's not how we should deal with differences of opinion in this country."

And New Zealand First leader Winston Peters warned shutting down freedom of speech sets New Zealand down a dangerous path.

"Whether you agree with her views or not, the irony of the disgraceful situation that occurred at the Posie Parker event, is that violence, hatred, and intimidation is coming from the very group who claim to be the ones standing up for inclusivity and freedoms," he tweeted.

"Don't think your violence and cancel culture is representing the majority of New Zealanders who want an open and free western democracy that values freedom of speech."

During the chaos, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, attending a public rally in support of trans and non-binary human rights, was struck by a motorcycle that allegedly failed to stop for her at a pedestrian crossing. She sought medical treatment and is now resting at home with whānau.

"The Green Party stands with our trans and non-binary whānau and supports action to ensure everyone can live their lives without fear of hate or discrimination," a Greens spokesperson told Newshub.

In a statement from Speak Up For Women after the Auckland event, they said Sunday's Let Women Speak gathering in Wellington has been cancelled.

"Keen-Minshull's security team have advised her that they cannot keep her safe from mob violence and the police have declined to do so," a spokesperson said.

"Speak Up for Women thanks Mrs Keen-Minshull for having the courage to come to New Zealand and showing up in Albert Park today, despite receiving multiple death threats and threats of violence in the last week. 

"In the coming weeks Speak Up for Women will be gathering witness statements and laying a formal complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the lack of police action to prevent violence in what was clearly an increasingly volatile situation."

Parker wouldn't confirm her event cancellation to RNZ, saying she would release an update on whether it would go ahead on Sunday morning.

"I'm afraid I can't talk about my plans at all. I've been advised not to talk about them at all with anyone.

"If it's on tomorrow then I'll make an announcement tomorrow and if it's off, then I will do the same."