In the face of a contentious encounter with airport security, former television presenter turned political aspirant, Liz Gunn, remains undaunted and optimistic, eagerly awaiting the special vote results in the forthcoming election. She clarified that her predictive assertion of amassing two million votes that she made at a recent public assembly was a satirical commentary intended to stoke ambition.
Gunn, appearing in the Manukau District Court with fellow defendant Jonathan Clark, faced charges stemming from an altercation that ensued in the international arrivals lounge of Auckland Airport earlier this year. Gunn advocated for additional security footage from the incident to be made public. This incident resulted in her facing charges of assault, trespass, and resisting arrest.
As the leader of the New Zealand Loyal Party, Gunn sought to elucidate her comments, which had been making waves in the media. She had speculated that her party, known for endorsing various conspiracy theories, would secure a staggering two million votes in the election. She dubbed the comment as “a tongue-in-cheek thing,” a humorous way to present her party’s aspirations while fantasizing a dream into reality. This comment elicited laughter from those present at the meeting.
Gunn, who had transitioned from a public persona on television into an advocacy role against vaccinations, addressed an audience at a New Zealand Loyal event. She lamented the current governance as “utter bullies” at best. Gunn ruminated on the irony if their party had covertly garnered well over a million votes, a nod to her earlier controversial prediction.
The party saw its best electoral response in Northland, where over 1170 constituents rallied behind Gunn. However, the party’s performance was overshadowed by the National, Labour, Act, New Zealand First, and Green parties, who significantly outpaced the New Zealand Loyal party’s votes in all electorates.
Gunn referred to these outcomes as “tentative results,” and speculated conservatively that 700,000 special votes awaited counting. While the Electoral Commission enumerated 567,000 unaccounted special votes, Gunn claimed that several voters had reached out to her conveying their casting of special votes for her party. She advised patience and reassured them that a large number of votes remained to be tallied.
In her court appearance regarding the airport scuffle, Gunn described the proceedings as “very administrative.” In a previous court appearance in March, she had pled not guilty to charges of assault, trespass, and resisting arrest, arising from an alleged fracas with a security guard at the airport. The dispute occurred over her filming an unvaccinated family’s arrival from Tokelau. Granted bail, she missed her subsequent court appearance in June due to illness.
Gunn, along with her legal representative, raised concerns over the unreleased CCTV footage of the incident, suggesting that the police retained an SD card that rightfully belonged to them. Addressing the judge directly, Gunn asserted that the incident had left her with major rotator cuff damage and that the available footage failed to capture the extent of her injuries. She vehemently argued that proceeding without comprehensive footage would result in a “major miscarriage of justice”. Her next appearance is scheduled for January 17, 2024.
Enlisting in court under the name Elizabeth Cooney, Gunn vocally resisted the label of a conspiracy theorist, maintaining that the public had grown weary of it. Notably, Gunn had previously attributed an earthquake to the former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern, alleging it to be nature’s reaction to her Covid-19 strategies.