Tourism New Zealand’s official Twitter account has been targeted with hundreds of negative comments after Posie Parker fled the country following a fiery rally in Auckland on Saturday.
Parker, real name Kellie-Jay Keen Minshull, was forced to leave her event in Albert Park after a hostile reception from transgender rights protesters saw her doused, mobbed, and sprayed by the crowd. She was later spotted at Auckland Airport checking in to an international flight.
Parker tweeted late on Saturday night that advice from police and her security team was to leave the country and hit out saying “lies were finally spewed by politicians in power in Australia and New Zealand, boosted by a corrupt media populated by vile dishonest unskilled cult members”.
Her treatment drew a wave of negative attention on Twitter, with #ShameOnNewZealand trending on Saturday.
In the aftermath Tourism New Zealand was forced to turn off replies to its tweets and its latest post was deleted entirely amid the storm of comments – but calls for visitors to boycott New Zealand continued.
“Having witnessed the treatment of women trying to speak in a public place in Auckland, I won’t be visiting NZ anytime soon,” one person commented on a Tourism New Zealand promotional tweet.
“I think you just ruined your tourism industry today,” a second wrote.
“@PureNewZealand expect your visitor numbers to plummet. Who’d want to visit a place where the government, media and police encourage aggression and mob rule?” a third tweeted.
ACT’s tourism spokesperson Dr James McDowall told Newshub it’s disappointing but not surprising people are shocked by what happened in Auckland.
“In a civilised country, you counter ideas you don’t like with more speech and debate, not violence and intimidation,” he said.
“Tourism businesses have been hammered over the past few years, they can’t afford for potential tourists to have another reason to take their money elsewhere.
“The Government didn’t promote rational behaviour, Ministers actually joined in on the witch-hunt. It sends a message that New Zealand isn’t capable of rational debate and allowing people to speak freely.”
Others however are celebrating the trans-rights counter-protest at the rally and say it’s burnished New Zealand’s international image.
“It’s good to know that someplace in the world, when you pal around with fascists, demonize trans women and build your grift on bigotry, you might not be welcomed,” one person tweeted.