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Disabled and terminally ill among first victims of Trevor Mallard, but media refused to tell the story

Henoch Kloosterboer of #DefendNZ and Editor of The Defender writes of his experiences with former Speaker, following confirmation of Mallard’s departure.

With the welcome departure of former Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard, there’s been a lot of talk about the public scandals that have plagued his tenure.

Everything from the highly questionable use of trespass notices, to dubious accusations against Parliamentary staffers, to his turning loudspeakers and sprinkler systems on protesting citizens.

There is one very serious incident, however, that you probably aren’t aware of – that #DefendNZ were one of the first victims of Trevor Mallard’s authoritarian excesses at Parliament.

Despite our best efforts at the time, the media refused to report what had happened to us, and so our story has remained largely untold to the public until now.

Back in May 2019, the second reading of the then End of Life Choice (EOLC) Bill, attempting to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia, was due to take place in Parliament.

In preparation for this, we collaborated with a sitting MP to host a special event at Parliament which involved our #DefendNZ heroes – courageous Kiwis with terminal illnesses and disabilities who became public ambassadors to highlight the harms the Bill would bring about.

The day after this event, when the second reading of the Bill was thought to be highly likely, we were invited back to Parliament by a sitting MP. This is when we came face-to-face with the unforgiving wrath of Trevor Mallard.

Our small party of mainly disabled and terminally ill New Zealanders were not there to protest, disrupt or engage in illegal activity. We were simply there to attend pre-arranged meetings with MPs, observe proceedings from the public galleries of Parliament, and be silent advocates for vulnerable Kiwis.

We faithfully adhered to the rules which had been stipulated to us, including the fact that we were not to wear our #DefendNZ shirts in the public gallery. (The shirts simply said, “Vote no to assisted suicide”)

Over the course of the day, we began to sense that even our silent presence was becoming too challenging for the pro-euthanasia MPs, and around lunchtime, we discovered just how cruel those in power can be to a dissenting presence.

Without any prior warning, a Parliamentary security guard began rudely demanding that we leave the Parliament building immediately under the urgent order of Trevor Mallard.

Remember, we had not done anything illegal, we had not done anything disruptive, and we were there as guests of a sitting MP.

None of that mattered to Trevor Mallard, who quickly appeared in person to reinforce his eviction of a small and peaceful group of disabled and terminally ill New Zealand citizens.

I watched stunned, as Trevor Mallard stood over a woman with terminal brain cancer, and berated her with a raised voice, threatening her with a trespass notice as she sat in her wheelchair, made powerless and with eyes watering.

Here’s how disability advocate, and Anglican priest John Fox, who was one of those evicted, described the incident at the time:

“We were wearing our ‘Vote No to Assisted Suicide’ t-shirts (or some of us were) in the Parliamentary Cafe and the hallways: (we knew we couldn’t wear them in the Public Gallery and we didn’t). We were clustered around the lift because there are only two disabled lifts in Parliament; they’re tiny, and we had a bunch of wheelchairs… Next thing you know, two pro-assisted-dying Ministers are complaining that we are there and accosting people, (which we didn’t, we spoke to the people who spoke to us, or people we knew) so security arrived. They shouted at us (really), they were extremely aggressive, and refused to tell us what we did wrong, then they got increasingly demanding and aggressive, a couple of us on meds got upset, and demanded to know why he was being so aggressive and confrontational, and the wonderful [terminally ill] Vicki Walsh demanded to know why he was being so angry.

Then the Speaker [Trevor Mallard] appeared and said we’re not allowed political t-shirts, and that we shouldn’t have been in the Cafe. We said we were invited specially, followed all the instructions we were given (we did, I was there, we were extremely careful to be respectful), the security man had another go at us because Ministers have complained, we asked why, and he explained to us [later, after we were escorted] outside that the rules have changed because of March 15 [Christchurch Mosque attack] and no one told us. We said that wasn’t our fault, I explained to him the physical logistics of negotiating the damned difficult building and that we did nothing wrong, he said he didn’t really care.

In essence, the other team got sick of looking at us.”

#DefendNZ news
After the eviction: Vicki Walsh can be seen in her wheelchair bottom left, and Kylee Black in her wheelchair bottom right. Rev. John Fox can be seen at left of the security guard with Henoch Kloosterboer at right. This photo was taken after we had been removed. We are seen here outside Parliament’s entrance.

After the incident, Vicki Walsh (RIP), contacted her local MP to alert him to what had happened. She received this reply:

“I have now heard the whole story and am a little sorry I wasn’t there with you as I think you were done an injustice by our speaker.”

In the immediate aftermath of our unjustified eviction from Parliament under threat of trespass notice by Trevor Mallard, we felt we had to alert the public to what had happened.

The forceful removal of peaceful and non-disruptive New Zealand citizens from our nation’s Parliamentary buildings was too serious an incident to stay silent about.

As we were being forcefully removed by no less than three security guards, I immediately made phone contact with journalists from 1NEWS and the NZ Herald, both of whom indicated that the Parliamentary press gallery was aware that something serious had just transpired in Parliament.

They also told me that they were keen to come down and interview us, but they would just need to clear it with their editors first.

An hour later, after hearing nothing further from either journalist, I contacted them for a second time. It was then that I was told that their editors had refused them permission to report on the incident.

I was dumbfounded, as I can’t ever recall any other incident involving peaceful advocates, who were at Parliament by invitation, having been then threatened with trespass notices and evicted by the Speaker of the House.

To say that this wasn’t something even mildly newsworthy beggars all belief.

At that stage, we chose not to take the issue any further because we didn’t want to create a sideshow, nor undermine our profoundly important advocacy work for vulnerable New Zealanders.

Don’t forget, the EOLC Bill was still alive in Parliament at that stage, and we did not want to take any course of action that would jeopardise the possibility of a good outcome for those Kiwis the Bill would harm if it became law.

Later that same year, the Francis Report, which was an investigation into bullying at Parliament, was published. Among other things, it found the following:

  • “Bullying & harassment are systemic [at Parliament].”
  • “Unacceptable conduct is too often tolerated or normalised.”
  • ”There is low accountability, particularly for Members, who face few sanctions for harmful behaviour.”
  • “The identities of many accused are an open secret, and there are alleged serial offenders.”

We can definitely attest to having been targeted by that toxic culture, and it wasn’t good.

You might be wondering why we’ve chosen to speak publicly about our story now.

No, it’s not simply the fact that Trevor Mallard is departing, and it’s not an attempt to re-litigate old grievances.

Instead, the important issue here is that of the public accountability of those who are elected to serve us in public office.

This was just one of many incidents where the media performance during the passage of the assisted suicide and euthanasia Bill was highly questionable.

One of the untold stories of that whole period was the way in which some journalists and media outlets went from being unbiased observers of the parliamentary process, to biased advocates and cheerleaders of a Bill.

This might have suited the supporters of legalised euthanasia, but it resulted in an extremely bad outcome for the people of New Zealand.

Even if you are pro-assisted suicide, the final EOLC Act we ended up with has some very serious flaws in it. This means that vulnerable New Zealanders are now at greater risk of a wrongful death than they were before this Act was passed.

These flaws could, and more than likely would, have been addressed if the media had maintained a proper standard of journalistic ethics and ensured a greater degree of accountability.

The media’s decision to turn a blind eye to our unjust treatment at the hands of Speaker Mallard was just one example of many questionable media actions during that period.

Trevor Mallard may be departing Parliament, but the issues that allowed him to operate with impunity for many years while in office, culminating in the incidents of the last 12 months, remain unaddressed.

This is precisely why the public accountability aspect of the work we are engaged in at #DefendNZ is so fundamentally important.

If we can’t rely on the fourth estate to ensure a level playing field for vulnerable Kiwis, then it’s up to us to do our best to be a beacon of light, shining the uncomfortable light of accountability at the times and places where it is most needed.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Yep, Mallard really is a dick of the first order, an embarrassment to the country.

    But the thing about bullies, Duckman is this, sooner or later you will meet one bigger than you. Enjoy your stay in the Emerald Isle…. ????

    • Yip you’re not wrong there. I’ve heard they’d like to ‘send the f***ing c**t back’ imagine that in a broad Irish accent. And I think they can be bullies…. Sue

  2. I wonder IF Ireland has an extradition agreement with New Zealand?
    Perhaps there’s a court case pending against the waddling Duck Man, and the Old Boy Network is getting him out of ‘harm’s way’???
    Or perhaps an offended and bullied / assaulted party is waiting for a change in government to go after the Duck Man without being ‘cancelled’…or a potential case being thrown out of the Masonic Old Boy-controlled Courts??
    There are only a few, not even a handful, of MP’s in Parliament that are trustworthy, and you can rest assured that they will never hold a Cabinet Post in any of the Labour / National scenarios due to their honesty and refusal to be bullied by a bunch of Masonic, Old Boy rugby thugs who are maxed-out on the narcissism scale and have top grades in psychopathy and socio-pathology!
    Vote for a minor party this next El-ection! Vote on what Parliament would look like if the Labour / National or National / Labour rotation was eliminated with the minor political parties entering Parliament for the first time in overwhelming numbers…!
    I will vote for the Outdoors and Freedom Party, as co-leader Sue Gray was the only political party leader to provide proof to a Parliamentary entity that the vaccines were harming New Zealanders and were in clear violation via ‘*mandates’ (*not legislated) of the NZ Patient Rights Act, the NZ Human Rights Act, and also in violation of the Nuremburg Code!
    No one else confronted Jabcinda’s Cabinet, and Sue Gray’s presentation was rudely dismissed by the proctor / hearing officer!
    The O&FP will also return to us the right to own firearms as per the’ UN Right to Self-Defence under Chapter Vll, Article 51′, part of the UN Charter that New Zealand signed on to!
    Jabcinda’s totalitarian disarming of the people so that a Zio-Communist holocaust can follow will NOT be allowed to stand!!!!!! And NZDF Personnel should take note of this historical parallel, and stop the same from happening!
    Join and Vote for the O&FP!!! Please do it today!
    Oberflacker Sie das Boot!!!

  3. I shall write a letter to Ireland informing them of this and encourage them to euthanase the wayward duck on arrival. The level of harm it can cause waddling around on it’s own is to higher risk to innocent law abiding citizens. Most certainly the quack in this duck must be silenced. It’s head removed and a big hand of stuffing shoved up it’s a.rs. Roast duck anyone?

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