Protesters crash PM's speech at Christchurch school

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says protesters who gathered outside a new Christchurch high school campus she was opening had "no effect" on the event.

The Freedom and Rights Coalition was behind the protest at the new Te Aratai College campus on Aldwins Rd in Linwood.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poses for a photo with a student. Photo: John Cosgrove
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poses for a photo with a student. Photo: John Cosgrove
The group shared the protest details on social media with the title: "Emergency Protest 1".

Ardern was greeted by a Pōwhiri at a back entrance to the school and some students were heard calling out "we love you Jacinda" from a classroom window as she arrived.

She slipped by undetected as about 50 protesters waited outside waving flags and signs, with some motorists tooting in support.

They could be heard yelling "shame on police" and "give us our jobs back", while others shouted, "you have destroyed our lives".

There was a heavy police presence outside the school.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Te Aratai College. Photo: John Cosgrove
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Te Aratai College. Photo: John Cosgrove
Ardern spoke to media about the incident saying it had zero effect on the visit.

She said she was not worried about protesters showing up to events she attends.

"No, because it isn't wherever I go. Look it's from time to time but it very rarely has any impact on the events themselves we are a part of.

"It would be a shame to let it detract from, for instance, what was otherwise a very lovely day with a group of school students excited about the reopening of their brand new school."

Decision on Christchurch stadium up to council

Ardern would not say what decision she would like to see made about the future of the planned stadium in Christchurch.

"Ultimately these are matters for council, When the global settlement was worked through essentially the idea was that council would have the ability to manage those decisions.

Protesters have gathered at the opening of a Christchurch high school where Prime Minister...
Protesters have gathered at the opening of a Christchurch high school where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is speaking. Photo: Star News
"And that is still the case. We wanted to get back to a position where there was that sense of return of normality and that the councils were able to really lead on those decisions so these are really matters for them."

The incident at Te Aratai College was not the first time protesters have shown up to a school in Canterbury while the PM is visiting.

Ardern was at Tuahiwi School in February when things turned sour as she was leaving.

Protesters lined up outside and screamed "shame on you" and "murderer".

Police were called to the scene and dispersed the crowd.

-By Georgia O'Connor-Harding

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