Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Dildo thrower: Employer stays mum on whether she'll face disciplinary action

The employers of a protester who threw a sex toy at Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will not say whether she will face disciplinary action.

Josie Butler, a nurse at Hillmorton Hospital in Christchurch, was apprehended by police but not charged on Friday after she threw the dildo at Mr Joyce in protest at the Government's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Canterbury District Health Board general manager of people and capability Michael Frampton said the DHB was not commenting on the issue.

A staff member at the hospital said she was at work yesterday and did not appear to have faced any sanctions.

Ms Butler told Mana News she had been campaigning against the TPP for two years. She believed it would have "profoundly negative effects on New Zealand, socially, culturally and economically" and she was especially concerned about its impact on medicine costs.

She said most people she spoke to at Waitangi respected her actions and she had been invited back to next year's event.

Prime Minister John Key was critical of Ms Butler, accusing her of creating a negative image of Waitangi Day. "I don't buy the argument she's some hard-working nurse that we should feel sorry for," he told One News.

The Government says the TPP may raise the cost of medicines, but these costs will not be passed on to patients. The Labour Party says the true cost of the TPP's impact on medicines is not yet known.

Under the trade deal, bulk-buying agency Pharmac will have to set a timeframe for funding decisions and a review process for rejected funding applications - at a cost of $6.7 million in the first year and $2.2 million a year in following years.

Mr Joyce says he has not had an apology from Ms Butler and is not expecting one.

He would not give a view on whether her employer should discipline her: "It is not my issue. The issue is her issue and she just needs to deal with whatever. I've stayed right out of it."

- NZ Herald

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