- Posie Parker cancelled her second visit to NZ, fearing police would not protect her.
- Internal police communications show police chose not to defend Parker and her supporters on March 25th.
- On Sept 20th police defended her supporters from the trans rights activists at Auckland District Court.
- Most complaints of misleading media were dismissed, but some were upheld.
Posie Parker cancels, but this time police defend her supporters
Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka “Posie Parker”, a women’s rights activist, cancelled her second trip to New Zealand, saying her family believed it wasn’t safe. Parker accused NZ police, border control and politicians of corruption; read our coverage of her first visit and judge for yourself.
Parker’s visit was planned to coincide with a pre-trial hearing for Eli Rubashkyn, the transgender activist who poured tomato soup over Parker. Rubashkyn applied to have the assault charge dismissed; whose lawyer argued “a certain level of violence was implied at some protests.” Judge Ryan reserved her decision until October.
Activists from both sides assembled outside the court, but this time there was an abundance of police between the groups, despite a group of trans rights activists attempting to break through.
OIA request proves police chose not to act
An Official Information Act request for police communications around Parker’s first visit shows police knew protesters planned to surround Parker’s meeting and prevent her from speaking. This is an offence under the Summary Offences Act, but police did not act to prevent it. On the day after the clash, Senior Communications Advisor Sarah Mair gave instructions on the official line “re Police response”: “As soon as it became clear there was a potential safety risk to the Albert Park event speaker, she was escorted from the area by police staff.”
The OIA request proves this is false. Police were aware the situation was getting out of hand, with the protestors dismantling the safety fencing and crowding in on the meeting. Protesters became increasingly aggressive, and only after Parker’s supporters successfully evacuated her from the crowd of abusive protestors did police provide an escort for Parker from there to a police car.
Communications also showed instructions for the operation were sent by Senior Sergeant Rhona Stace, a male-to-female transgender cop championed as a symbol of progressivism in the force. This adds to the question of how much ideological bias contributed to the police response.
It will be interesting to see what the IPCA review of the debacle finds.
Public concerns of biassed coverage ignored by media
While a Newsroom headline declared “NZ media cleared in Posie Parker coverage”, in fact the Media Council had serious concerns, and the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld a complaint against Newshub.
The BSA censure was for a 3 News TV broadcast which called Parker a “radical transphobe” and blurred out her hand in a video call when she did up the zip on her top, claiming she was “using a hand signal linked to white supremacists”.
The Media Council and BSA had concerns about a number of news reports, but ultimately said it was acceptable for media to describe people and situations in the manner of their choosing. The lack of censure is more encouragement for independent media.