ACT Leader David Seymour and MP Nicole McKee this morning met with representatives of the group protesting outside Parliament at the request of the owner of the Backbencher.

“Until today, I had been reluctant to meet with protestors given some of them had abused members of the public, threatened journalists and MPs, and blocked roads. I condemn those actions,” says Mr Seymour.

“It’s possible to disagree with people without ignoring them. The people in this protest are ultimately human, and part of New Zealand. We need a mature de-escalation from this sorry situation in order that we can glue this country back together.

“The owner of the Backbencher contacted me yesterday and asked me to meet with representatives of the protesters in the hope of ending the protest and allowing him, and other Wellingtonians, to get on with their lives.

“He assured me the unacceptable, anti-social elements of the protest are dispersing.

“While I disagree with many of the sentiments expressed by the protestors, I understand their frustrations around mandates. Many protesters have lost their jobs, some have lost their homes, and they feel they’re unable to take part in society.

“The message I’ve sent to the protestors is that, until they clear the streets, stop occupying Victoria University, and remove the unacceptable behaviour from the protest, it’s unlikely anyone from Parliament will be out on the steps listening to them. Certainly not me.”