Number of threats against MPs fell dramatically last year

Newshub can reveal the number of threats against MPs recorded by police fell dramatically last year.  

There were a high number of threats against Jacinda Ardern when she was Prime Minister in 2022, but her successors faced far fewer last year.  

Whether it is in the real world, or the digital one, MPs often face abuse.   

"It's fine being scrutinised in the public for all of those things but the hatred and the attack you can get for that, it's done its job, you could say, to create a chill factor," said Greens co-leader Marama Davidson.  

She said abuse has already ramped up since Sunday's news the party will have two female co-leaders with the election of Chlöe Swarbrick.  

"Concerted efforts are already being made to disempower us," said Davidson.   

On the campaign trail last year, politicians were open about the risks.  

"My husband said, 'can we please take two cars, I do not want the children in your Willow-Jean Prime car'," said Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime last year.    

"We have been the victim of gang, violence, and intimidation, and it's outrageous," said National's Chris Bishop at the time.   

But Newshub can reveal the number of threats against MPs recorded by police dropped by more than half last year compared to 2022.  

In 2019, there were 43 threats towards MPs. In 2022, that jumped to 101. Last year it was back at 43.   

When Ardern was Prime Minister she was the subject of a torrent of threats, with police logging 60 against her in 2022 alone.   

Before she resigned in January 2023 Ardern received one threat. Chris Hipkins received six in the roughly 10 months he held the top job last year, while Christopher Luxon received four during his time in the role in 2023.  

Police say most of the threats were made online via social media and email, including from people suspected to be suffering from mental distress. A number were also related to COVID-19 mandates, an issue that flared in 2022 when the most threats were received.  

"What I hope is that it hasn't just become so normalised and so expected that we almost 'oh yeah well this is just inevitable now' and we choose to do less about it," said Davidson.