Wellington Scoop

Man arrested after James Shaw attacked while walking to work

Report from RNZ
Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack in Wellington yesterday morning. He has a black eye and lacerations to his face after an attack while he was walking to work.

A spokesperson for Mr Shaw said he was walking past the Botanical Garden about 7.30am when he was grabbed and struck in the face by a man, who then took off. A man, 47, has been arrested by the police and has been charged with injuring with intent to injure. He will appear in court tomorrow.

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

Two members of the public went to Mr Shaw’s aid and called an ambulance. He was checked by ambulance staff at the scene and given the all clear. He made his way to Parliament and attended a select committee, but then went to hospital for a precautionary check-up.

Mr Shaw has given a detailed statement to the police. The Speaker of the House has granted him compassionate leave from Parliament.

Mr Shaw has responded to queries about how he’s doing, saying “it looks worse than it is”.

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 needs 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.”

National’s climate change spokesperson Todd Muller said he hoped for Mr Shaw to recover well, and quickly. He said he had seen views that this was 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.”

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said she was “focusing on supporting James to rest and get checked.”

News from NZ Police
A 47-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the assault in Kelburn. Wellington Police are seeking information from the public after a man was assaulted on Glenmore Street at around 7.50am outside the entrance to the Botanical Garden. We understand members of the public have assisted the victim and we believe there may also be other witnesses to the incident. If you saw the assault or assisted the victim please call Wellington Police on 04 381 2000. Information can also be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


  1. Gareth Hughes, 14. March 2019, 11:26

    The NZGreens team are shocked this happened to James and are supporting him today. All Kiwis should be able to walk to work in safety. [via twitter]

  2. Martyn Bradbury, 14. March 2019, 11:29

    let’s hope this is some dreadful random violence by a disturbed person as opposed to a targeted political attack – the former is depressing, the latter terrifying. When public debate is so vile on social media, behaviour follows? [via twitter]

  3. Rorie Kearse, 14. March 2019, 12:33

    We wish James a fast recovery and hope he’s allowed back to parliament

  4. Joseph Romanos, 14. March 2019, 17:42

    I’ve seen PMs Jenny Shipley & Helen Clark at Kirkcaldie’s, PM Jim Bolger walking to a dairy in Thorndon, and former PM David Lange buying up biscuits and sweets at a dairy in Karori. The lack of security is actually what makes NZ special. It would be such a pity if it changed. [via twitter]

  5. Green Party NZ, 14. March 2019, 17:55

    We’re pleased to say James Shaw is at home now after hospital check-ups. Wishing everyone a safe evening and thanks again for the aroha shown to us today. 💚 [via twitter]

  6. Paula Bennett, 14. March 2019, 17:56

    this is one of those times when politicians unite. Be well James. No form of violence is ok. Ever. [via twitter]

  7. Graham C Atkinson, 14. March 2019, 18:01

    And don’t forget Keith Holyoake used to walk each morning from the Prime Ministerial residence in Pipitea Street to Parliament Buildings and then, unless it was a late sitting night, home again – and always finished up stopping and talking to people on the way.

  8. Victor Davie, 14. March 2019, 19:13

    The safety and well-being of all Wellington citizens is essential at all times. It’s pleasing to learn that Mr Shaw is now safe at home recuperating from that nasty assault. Full marks to all those who gave him assistance and enabled a prompt arrest.

  9. Grant Robertson, 14. March 2019, 21:35

    Feeling for my friend James and Annabel tonight. And frankly feeling a bit shaken now I have stopped for the day. Let’s hold dear to our openness, look out for each other and call out the abuse and bullying. We are better than today. I know it. [via twitter]

  10. Mandy Hager, 14. March 2019, 21:39

    Time for enablers like NewstalkZB, NZNationalParty and NZStuff to dial back their hate mongering commentators and properly police their comments section so crazies like the man who attacked James Shaw are not empowered to act. This is the result of manufactured hate. [via twitter]

  11. Andy Foster, 15. March 2019, 6:25

    Unprovoked assault is completely unacceptable in any situation. All the worse because it seems politically motivated. Open, accessible democracy is such an important part of New Zealand’s way of life. The last thing we want is for our politicians to be separated for any reason including security. All the best for quick recovery James, and being able to get back to walking to work. Well done to the bystanders who helped out.

  12. Derek Wilshere, 15. March 2019, 13:39

    Mandy Hager is so right. It is a very concerning trend….goes unchallenged over and over….despicable. And they rabbit on about Kiwi Values?

  13. Richard Seager, 19. March 2019, 14:52

    In my recent experience there is plenty of commentary from the ‘Left’ that also indicates extreme views, just look up some of the Greens on Twitter in association with that late Holocene/Anthropocene insult ‘TERF.’ I’d swear there’s an extra element to the word’s meaning in a NZ context as well but it’s not for me to say as despite, like many, considering it a slur you’d have to ask its users whether it’s an epithet as well.
    As far as comments on those sites go, I think the only thing required is to limit them to NZ residents/citizens. [abridged]