Anti-Vaxxers Force New Zealand PM Off the Road

Jacinda Ardern kept her cool, calling it 'just another day'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2022 9:40 AM CST

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has brushed off an uncomfortable encounter with anti-vaccination protesters, who chased and blocked her vehicle, forcing it onto a curb, as "just another day" at work. "At no point was I worried about my safety or the safety of anyone that was with me," Ardern said Tuesday, despite data showing an increase in threats to politicians in 2021, per 1News. Protesters had met a van carrying Ardern near the waterfront in Paihia last week, per the New Zealand Herald. In footage shared online, people in a second vehicle shout "shame on you" and "we do not consent" as Diplomatic Protection Service officers stand nearby. Someone also shouts obscenities and refers to Ardern as a "Nazi," per the Guardian.

"Oh this is fun, we're on a chase," a voice says as the second vehicle pursues the van. At one point, the vehicle blocks the van from reaching a main road, forcing the driver to climb a curb and travel along a footpath, per the Herald. Ardern said Tuesday she didn't think much of the incident, which, per the Guardian, she saw as "a reflection of the fact that we are the decision-makers. And if people don't like the decisions that are being made, then it's us that of course will hear the feedback." The current environment "does have an intensity to it that is unusual for New Zealand," she added. "I do also believe that with time it will pass." Police are investigating the incident, per 1News. (Ardern just announced new COVID-19 restrictions, and the postponement of her wedding.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.