OPINION: MPs have long been abused and targeted in public by people, and over the last decade, abused online.
Much of it is harmless, despite how mean-spirited and brutal it can seem.
This comes with the territory, and MPs know they’ll be heavily scrutinised when they sign up for the job.
But over the last few months, this ‘scrutiny’ has become more and more vitriolic and full of hatred. It’s come with genuine anger and aggressiveness.
Covid has created some monsters, and after some of the scenes from protests over the last month or so, I’m worried about what some of these monsters might do.
The perpetrators are usually unhinged and on another planet, so it’s understandably becoming quite a security threat to our elected representatives.
Our MPs should always be available to their constituents and the public - but a few recent examples of abuse and hate and outright lunacy have reignited a discussion about full-time security for MPs.
All it takes is for one nutcase to do something stupid - and that will see our renowned openess and access to MPs disappear in an instant.
Labour’s chief whip Kieren McAnulty is a recent example of how bad things are becoming.
He was harangued by some anti-vaxxers who accused him of child genocide, and then recieved death threats when a video of the exchange was posted online. Not just one death threat, but many death threats.
Covid Minister Chris Hipkins says his office has been repeatedly targeted by the anti-vax crowd. One man even ended up in court for continued abusive phone calls.
There’s also reports he was abused while walking his kid down the street.
And last week, anti-vax protesters threw tennis balls at the Beehive with ‘Hang Ardern’ and ‘Paedophile Witch’.
Labour’s asked Parliamentary Service for advice on MPs’ safety.
And you can hardly blame them for doing it.
Why on earth would anyone want to go into politics?
Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk & THREE.