Kieran McAnulty said the levels of abuse inflicted on politicians were unjustified. Photo/NZME

The alleged death threats prompted Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty to stop holding mobile offices in the electorate.

McAnulty, the minister for emergency management and racing, told a Central Hawke’s Bay radio station this week that he had received a number of such threats over the past year and that he he had been advised to end the practice of setting up mobile offices.

Local MPs have a long-established protocol of public street corner meetings with constituents or setting up offices in public spaces, where the public can meet them and discuss local issues.

This is particularly important for MPs with larger, more rural constituencies โ€“ Wairarapa’s constituency extends north into central Hawke’s Bay towns.

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McAnulty said political debate was healthy, but the levels of abuse meted out to politicians were unjustified.

The subject of abuse against politicians has come to light since Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation as Prime Minister in Napier a week ago.

Ardern said the online abuse had an impact on her but was “not the basis of my decision” to quit.

This Ardern farewell underscored the level of vitriol aimed at the former prime minister and his family. Researchers from the University of Auckland found that Ardern faced threats far beyond that country’s other politicians and public figures.

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Security experts have suggested she will continue to need police protection now that she is no longer in office.

McAnulty was approached for comment.

Napier MP Stuart Nash told Hawke’s Bay Today he himself had received no death threats and felt the political discourse was still relatively friendly.

Nash said he looked forward to resuming his street corner meetings with his constituents in February.

“In my experience, even those who oppose your policy or policies are reasonably respectful,” Nash said.

More soon…

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