Former National MP Matt King says while most vaccine mandates and passes are being removed, the hurt will remain for many people impacted by them.
“They [mandates] will not be an issue, but the after effects – the physical, financial and all those sorts of scars – will not be dropped and people will not forget.”
Wednesday’s changes winding back the vaccine pass and most mandates came as no surprise to King, but he said it should have happened long ago.
The mandates took jobs away from people who refused to have the vaccine, and those people were then alienated by the sitting MPs who refused to meet with anti-mandate protesters at Parliament grounds, he said.
King said it was for this reason that he formed a new political party, DemocracyNZ, standing of a platform of democracy, unity, freedom of choice, freedom of expression, access and inclusion.
King says the anti-mandate Parliament protest politically alienated protesters, and the violence on the final day could have been avoided if politicians had more of a sympathetic ear.
The party was all about upholding the Bill of Rights, a foundation which covers all political sides, including those feeling “politically homeless” by sitting MPs, he said.
While King has spoken out against Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Government and the “undemocratic” mandates, and also said National went against the bill when it removed prisoner voting rights in 2010, a rule revoked by Labour in 2020.
DemocracyNZ has had good support since its low-key launch on Friday, with about 2000 people signing up to become members in the first 48 hours, he said.
No other team members have been named yet, but King said other candidates would be announced closer to the election.
Northland is home, King says
While Northland is a key political home, King thought there wasn’t necessarily something special about the region, it just happened to be his home.
The former detective lives on a farm in Ōkaihau, in the Far North, in an off-the-grid house.
“I can’t see any other houses where I live, and life’s pretty good,” King said.
Representing Northland, for National, from 2017 to 2020 was one of King’s greatest honours, he told Facebook followers.