24 Mar 2016

MP accused of driving car into TPP protester

11:16 pm on 24 March 2016

Police are investigating a complaint that Whanganui MP Chester Borrows drove his car into an anti-TPP protester.

Chester Borrows was confronted by a crowd of TPP protesters on Tuesday (screenshot from video).

A screenshot from a video posted by the Wanganui Chronicle shows Whanganui MP Chester Borrows' car being blocked by anti-TPP protesters. Photo: Wanganui Chronicle

The complaint relates to an incident on Tuesday morning as Mr Borrows and Minister Paula Bennett left a breakfast meeting in Whanganui.

Chester Borrows.

Chester Borrows Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

The police said in a statement that one protester received a leg injury after allegedly coming into contact with Mr Borrows' vehicle.

"Police are currently establishing further information about this to assess what, if any, further steps are required from a police perspective.

"This will include speaking to those with relevant information about what happened."

Mr Borrows said several protesters had been yelling abuse at him, and Ms Bennett, that morning.

He said the protesters moved to stand in front of his car when they went to leave, and he only drove off when police had removed them.

"I was unaware that anyone had been hurt until I saw a posting on Facebook and I rang the police to chase up with that.

"They told me there had been a complaint, and that the woman had had an X-ray and she didn't have any broken bones and I was quite pleased that she wasn't hurt, obviously."

Mr Borrows said everyone had a right to protest, but he did feel quite threatened by the protesters' behaviour.

'We thought we were through'

A video of the incident shows Mr Borrows' car moving slowly forward, but it does not appear to completely stop. Two police officers approach and the protesters move apart.

As the car pulls away one woman can be seen holding her foot off the ground.

Ms Bennett said they were inching forward in the vehicle while the protesters got out of the way.

"Look from my perspective they tried to block the way, Chester slowed right down, was inching forward. Police moved the protesters out of the way. We thought we were through and kept moving."

Ms Bennett said she wasn't aware someone had had their foot run over, and said it wasn't until later in the day that she saw something on Twitter.

Prime Minister John Key said he was aware of the complaint against Mr Borrows.

He believed Mr Borrows was driving incredibly slowly and was just trying to move out of the driveway.

"Whether someone got in the way of a car, I don't really know. I haven't seen the video.

"What I know about Chester is he's a very gentle person, he's not the sort of person that seeks controversy or certainly not a person known for doing angry things."

Mr Key said if anything had happened, then he expected it would have been an accident.

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