Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says protesters had ‘zero effect’ on school visit, would be ‘shame to let it detract’ from event
Ardern quietly arrived at the school later in the morning, entering via a back entrance away from the protesters.
She told reporters at a media standup on Wednesday afternoon that the protesters didn’t cause any changes to her plans.
“It had zero effect on the visit or the day. It’s not up to me to decide which driveway we use. Usually it’s of no material impact which entrance we come in,” Ardern said.
Ardern said she’s not concerned about the presence of protesters at events she attends.
“It very rarely has an impact on the events themselves that we were a part of. It would be a shame to let it detract from, for instance, what was otherwise a really lovely day with a group of school students excited about the reopening of the brand new school.”
While on the school premises, Ardern was swamped by students asking for selfies.
The protest was organized by the Freedom and Rights Coalition, which referred to it on social media as an “emergency protest”. The group is well-known for being opposed to COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Police were present at the protest and told Newshub no significant issues were reported.
“The role of Police is to ensure safety and monitor the gathering, while recognizing the lawful right to protest.
“Police will respond appropriately to any issues regarding disorder or public safety that may arise.”
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