Green Party co-leader James Shaw attacked by man shouting political comments

by Jane Patterson / 14 March, 2019
james shaw attacked

James Shaw. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

A man has been charged with injuring with intent to injure after Green Party co-leader James Shaw was attacked on the street this morning.

Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have expressed shock at the unprovoked attack on the Conservation Minister as he walked to work.

Mr Shaw suffered a black eye, bloody nose and lacerations to his face in the assault on Glenmore Street in Kelburn about 7.50am.

Two members of the public came to Mr Shaw's aid and called emergency services.

RNZ understands the man jumped out of a van and was shouting political comments aimed at Mr Shaw personally.

Police said a 47-year-old man has been arrested in relation to an assault on Glenmore Street this morning.

He has now been charged with injuring with intent to injure and is due to appear in Wellington District Court tomorrow.

Mr Shaw has given police a detailed statement, and they are asking for any witnesses to come forward.

  • Do you know more? Email us at iwitness@radionz.co.nz

Paramedics checked him out on scene and gave him the all-clear.

Mr Shaw then went to work and attended an environment cabinet committee meeting before heading to hospital for a precautionary check-up.

His visibly-shaken Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told media this afternoon that the attacker seemed to know who Mr Shaw was, calling out his name.

"He's shaken. This was an individual who attacked him this morning and this is a big deal. And we're all shaken. But the messages of support are overwhelming and we are focused on supporting James at this time."

Ms Davidson said she hoped the incident did not result in politicians requiring heightened security.

"It would be a shame to lose the way people can approach us and access us in this country, that's one of the things I value about how we do politics. I'm really happy with the precautions that security have always taken. This is a single, individual attack that doesn't appear to be a pattern or organised at all."

Despite being injured, Mr Shaw continued on to Parliament after the attack and went to his meeting.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor was also there.

"I have to give full marks to James, he turned up at cab committee with a black eye and bloody nose so it's true commitment to the job and I hope he comes right quick."

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett called the attack "horrific".

"No-one should feel unsafe and have that kind of violence against them. Anyone in the public, quite frankly, violence is not okay. You shouldn't be walking to work and have an unprovoked attack like that."

She said there had been three occasions that she'd felt physically threatened in the past.

"I think it is exceptional, even though I've just cited three other cases. I think it's absolutely horrific but also i don't want to go down the path of needing to have police with me permanently either."

Near the scene of the attack, members of the public were equally appalled.

"If you've got something to a politician, say it. You don't hit them," said Barbara Stairs.

Andrew Law said seeing politicians out and about in Wellington is an everyday occurrence.

"They're part of the community," he said. "Anything that's politically-motivated that develops into a physical assault is just out of line and uncalled for."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken to Mr Shaw, who said he was doing fine. But she has encouraged him to take whatever time off he has to recover.

"My thoughts are with James and also Annabel. When you go into politics in New Zealand you just don't expect these things to happen, and I know it will be especially challenging for loved ones," she said.

"We have an environment in New Zealand where politicians are accessible - and that's something we should feel proud of. We are after all, here to serve people. But today's events really show we cannot take that for granted.

"I think all of us will probably be united in wanting to ensure we have the kind of political environment where everyone can hold their views, but they can do that safely."

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has granted Mr Shaw compassionate leave from Parliament for the meantime.

National's climate change spokesperson Todd Muller said he hopes Mr Shaw recovered really well, and quickly.

He said he had seen views that this is the "new era in New Zealand politics", but he rejected that completely.

"I don't think one man's punch defines a nation's political discourse. It's far from that in this country and in this Parliament and indeed in climate change we're working hard to develop a bipartisan outcome," Mr Muller said.

"I think everyone will be taking stock around their own personal safety."

Information can be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Wellington Police on 04 381 2000.

- additional reporting by Gia Garrick

This article was first published on Radio NZ, and has been updated.

Latest

How to enhance your dining experience – with water
103174 2019-03-22 00:00:00Z Dining

How to enhance your dining experience – with water…

by Metro

A stunning dining experience isn’t just about food and wine. Water plays a big part too.

Read more
Facebook won't give up its insidious practices without a fight
103856 2019-03-22 00:00:00Z Tech

Facebook won't give up its insidious practices wit…

by Peter Griffin

Facebook came under fire for its response to the live-streaming of the Christchurch terror attack, but it's digital nudging that's also concerning.

Read more
In photos: The world unites in solidarity with Christchurch
103800 2019-03-21 15:36:46Z World

In photos: The world unites in solidarity with Chr…

by Lauren Buckeridge

Countries around the world have put on a show of solidarity for the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

Read more
The tangled path to terrorism
103777 2019-03-21 09:59:55Z Psychology

The tangled path to terrorism

by Marc Wilson

The path that leads people to commit atrocities such as that in Christchurch is twisting and unpredictable, but the journey often begins in childhood.

Read more
If 'This is not New Zealand', let us show it
103768 2019-03-21 09:31:27Z Social issues

If 'This is not New Zealand', let us show it

by The Listener

The little signs among the banks of flowers said, “This is not New Zealand.” They meant, “We thought we were better than this.” We were wrong.

Read more
Extremism is not a mental illness
103785 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

Extremism is not a mental illness

by The Mental Health Foundation of NZ

Shooting people is not a symptom of a mental illness. White supremacy is not a mental illness.

Read more
PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles
103805 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automa…

by RNZ

Ms Ardern pledged the day after the terrorist massacre that "gun laws will change" and would be announced within 10 days of the attack.

Read more
No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 years of GCSB & SIS public docs
103770 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Politics

No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 y…

by Jane Patterson

There is not one specific mention of the threat posed by white supremacists or right-wing nationalism in 10 years of security agency documents.

Read more