“The Speaker of the House is one of the most important constitutional roles in New Zealand and it’s time for Trevor Mallard to behave like it,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“But we can’t really blame Trevor. He is simply filling a void left by the absent Prime Minister. Rather than ridiculing the protestors, she needs to be constantly updating the COVID response as new evidence emerges. Ideally, the Prime Minister would be focused on hope and healing, but instead Labour is offering absence and immaturity.

“I don’t agree with the way this protest has been carried out. It’s entirely unacceptable to threaten people, block the road and cause damage to property.

“But for Rt Hon Trevor Mallard to turn on the sprinklers and play annoying music is funny at first then pathetic the more you think about it.

“It’s like he thinks he’s Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and few silly pranks will scare the trespassers away. What’s next? Placing buckets of water on doors left ajar?

“He’s even taken to Twitter saying he will take suggestions from the public about what music to play. New Zealand deserves more maturity from the Speaker of the House.

“Not only are Mallard’s antics immature, not only are the ineffective, they have made a serious situation much worse. His petty behaviour has only encouraged the protesters further. Mallard needs to tell us whether he sought police advice before taking these actions.

“He also needs to answer if he has copyright approval for the music. We know he didn’t get advice from the Police, so did he take the Steven Joyce approach and it’s just “pretty legal.”

“All MPs have chosen to ignore these protesters. Except for Mallard who has waived a red rag to them.

“Trevor Mallard needs to leave the response to Police. It’s not for politicians to interfere with silly pranks.

“Meanwhile, the Beehive is under siege, and where is our Prime Minister? Jacinda has been MIA for the past few days created a vacuum for Trevor. Where is the Prime Minister and why isn’t she showing leadership?

“The kind of scenes we are witnessing could have been avoided if the Government had taken ACT’s advice on vaccines, mandates, and testing. Mandates may reassure people that others will not pass on COVID, but so does regular testing.

“Since the Government insists on mandates, they should be vaxx or test. It would have been easier if testing was more widely available, also in line with ACT policy.

“It’s time for us to ask some serious questions about New Zealand’s response.

“Community case numbers are now far outstripping numbers at the border. Yesterday there were 454 cases in the community but only 8 in MIQ. It’s clear MIQ no longer makes sense when so many are isolating at home with Omicron.

“Instead of decimating the horticulture industry with another season of fruit rotting on the ground, we should let people come in to work.

“As the numbers change, the response needs to change with it. Evidence from the UK is now showing tested infection rates twice as high for vaccinated as unvaccinated. If vaccination does not affect transmission of Omicron, then what is the justification for vaccine requirements?

“In Australia, hospitalisations and ICU peaked at much lower rates than was expected. If our hospital system is not under threat, then why are we still at Red?

“We need to start looking at our response and whether it’s still fit for purpose. We need to talk like adults, look at the facts and not get distracted by silly pranks and fringe groups.

“Only when we have these discussions, follow the science and move quickly will we be able to heal and have hope for the future.”