Ardern abandons scheduled event in Whanganui due to protesters

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had to abandon two scheduled stops in Whanganui because of protesters, a day after she was forced to stop and move a media conference in Northland due to a protester. 

More than a hundred people gathered at Whanganui Caltex expecting the Prime Minister to be there. They waved anti-Labour Party signs and signs saying 'freedom'. 

Protest at Whanganui.

Speaking at a different location on Wednesday afternoon, Ardern said she did not take the protests personally and she wasn't surprised to see some resistance. 

"We are at a state in the vaccine roll out where we are trying to reach communities that may hold firm views.

"But, we need to have those conversations," she said. 

"Just talking to some health practitioners, their goal is to talk to everyone, wherever they can, to try and have those conversations about why it is so important that people are vaccinated."

When asked why she did not attend her scheduled visit, Ardern said the purpose of her trip was to encourage people to get their jabs.

"It becomes counterproductive if then people congregate in a way that stops people’s access [to get vaccinated]," she said. 

As Ardern spoke to the media, protesters quickly gathered outside and police had to bring in extra reinforcements.

The Prime Minister had then planned to visit a vaccination clinic visit nearby. That, too, was cancelled due to protest activity. 

Instead, she would be meeting with locals involved in the vaccination campaign. 

It is the second day in a row that Ardern's plans have been disrupted due to protesters, as she visits rural areas to support the Covid-19 vaccination rollout. 

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister's media event in Kawakawa, Northland was briefly halted after a man with ties to a far-right online talk show twice interrupted her.  A woman was also heard singing and yelling in the background.

The talk show has links to a media group founded by former Trump administration adviser Steve Bannon.