Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has been allocated a security escort after receiving threats that were deemed by police to be serious enough to warrant an escort.
It is understood the threat level has been escalated following an interview where Act MP David Seymour said she was a menace to freedom because of her views on hate speech.
Speaking to media, Ghahraman said the decision for her to have a security escort was also as a result a Newshub investigation into white supremacy, where threats against her were revealed.
“As you can imagine, it’s distressing to have secret white supremacist groups talking about you.”
The police have deemed the threats she has received as serious enough to warrant the extra security.
Ghahraman said the security escort would mainly be made up of parliamentary security, but the security plan was drawn up with the police.
They will accompany her when she leaves Parliament.
“They have deemed the threat to be at a level that this is necessary,” she said.
Her understanding of the threats was that there was language that is “triggering of certain communities”.
She won’t, however, have the security escort when she is within Parliament.
Ghahraman said the security risk was going to be reassessed every sitting period – so every three weeks.
It is not known at this time how long the extra security would be with her.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said decisions about extra security are made by security and police.
“I don’t believe that would be decisions taken likely,” she said and added it would have been a decision that was based on the best information.
Ardern said a decision was operational.
Seymour said any threats against any MP were “appalling” and people who make the threats should be held to account.
However, he said he did not regret the comments he made and said he should be allowed to hold Ghahraman to account for her comments.
He said it was “fairly held criticism”.
He told media today he and Ghahraman have “robust debates” where she “gives as good as she gets”.
“We should be blaming the people making these disgusting threats – not trying to politicise it by blaming a particular politician.”
After an interview with radio station Magic Talk, National MP Judith Collins jumped to Ghahraman’s defence.
“Please don’t refer to Golriz in this way. I do not agree with almost anything she says but she is a person and it does not assist political debate to dehumanise her like that.”
The only other MP in New Zealand that receives a security escort is the Prime Minister.