Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Matt King is set to join the protest outside Parliament

Former National MP Matt King is set to join the protests outside his old workplace on Saturday, saying he was disappointed with his former colleagues for dismissing the views of the protesters out of hand.

King, who was Northland MP from 2017 to 2020, now heads a group representing military and Police personnel who are opposed to the vaccine mandates in those workforces.

He said he had been “hugely disappointed” by the dismissive responses of politicians to the protests, including by National’s leader Christopher Luxon.

“I think that they have shown a real lack of respect for the protesters and their position. That’s my biggest disappointment. If they had listened and given an ear or even just shown some interest they might not have had this issue.”

National has distanced itself from King – a National Party spokeswoman issued a statement saying “Matt King is no longer an MP for the National Party.

“National is strongly pro-vaccination and does not support the actions or the anti-vaccination messages of those involved in Convoy 2022. Everyone has a right to protest, but people shouldn’t be getting aggressive and violent, breaking rules, or impinging on the freedoms of others.”

King said his main concern was around the mandates but many politicians seemed to simply dismiss the whole protest group as anti-vaxxers.

“The anti-vax brigade is very small, but the anti-mandate group is massive. There are a lot of normal people there, men and women of all shapes and sizes and a lot of them are just ordinary Kiwis. I think a lot of people don’t support the mandates or are uneasy or uncomfortable about them and that is growing.”

He also believed that if it wasn’t for those people speaking out, the Government would stick with the mandates indefinitely.

While he would join the protest during the day, he did not intend to camp out on Parliament’s grounds.

A former policeman said he had been following the protests outside Parliament and was disturbed by some of what he had seen on Thursday when 122 people were arrested.

“I will be calling for non-violence and no aggression. I do not want to see cops and protesters getting hurt, and arrested.”

In an interview with the NZ Herald last week, King said he knew that his stance could spell the end of any hopes he had of re-selection for the National Party but he needed to stand on his principles.

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