Violent threats against Ardern surge

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Violent threats aimed at New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern requiring police involvement have almost tripled since 2019.

An official information request, reported by Newshub, has revealed police dealt with 50 threats targeting Ms Ardern in 2021, up from 18 in 2019.

The data shows anti-COVID-19 vaccine or anti-mandate sentiment is behind many of the threats.

Gun law reform in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch Mosques terror attack is another driver.

"My job is to make tough calls that not everyone likes," Ms Ardern told television show AM.

"Now that - never ever - is a reason for anyone in any leadership position to face threats and I don't want to trivialise it by saying it comes with the job. But unfortunately, in recent times, that's increasingly been the case.

"Does it change what I do or how I do it? No."

Kiwi outlets have reported an increase in protection afforded to the prime minister and her office in recent months to deal with the increase in threats.

In February, anti-vaccine protesters staged a three-week occupation of the lawns and streets outside parliament house in Wellington, with Ms Ardern as a unifying hate figure.

Protesters carried signs comparing the Kiwi PM to Adolf Hitler, called on government leaders and journalists to be tried and hung, and at one point attempted to surge and enter parliament.

Police tolerated the protest for 24 days until clearing the scene in an ugly and violent end to the occupation, with protesters setting fire to tents and structures as they were moved on.

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