National MP attends anti-mandate, anti-lockdown protest

Source: 1News

A National MP has attended an anti-vaccine and anti-mandate protest in Whanganui, posting photos of herself at the event on social media.

Harete Hipango with Voices for Freedom protestors in Whanganui

Harete Hipango, list MP in Whanganui, on Saturday posted the image of herself, along with two other images of Voices for Freedom protesters to her Facebook page.

In the caption which accompanied the photos Hipango said she had been “out & about” in Whanganui, and that “division” had been “driven into people & places that should not be”.

Harete Hipango's Facebook post.

“A place & people who ought treasure freedoms of movement, choice & speech before being banned & branded as 'hate speech/speakers' misinformers & insurgents ('anti-vaxers')(sic).”

National Party Leader Christopher Luxon has since said he has spoken with the MP about the post, which has now been taken down.

“I have talked to Harete and she has taken her post down. The views of the group she was with do not align with those of the National Party.

"I am strongly supportive of vaccination, as is the National party. I encourage everyone to take that step as the best protection, for themselves and their family, against Covid.”

Hipango says she took the post down, because it had been pointed out to her that it could convey an "anti vaccination message which was never my intention".

“I am vaccinated, and like the rest of the National Party I strongly support vaccination for our whānau and communities.”

It's the second time Hipango has appeared at an anti-vaccination protest in Whanganui. She did so in November 2021, and said she was there to support her community, before later saying she thought it was a protest about something else.