Former TV presenter Liz Gunn has pleaded not guilty after she and a cameraman allegedly got into a scuffle with Auckland Airport security over filming without a permit.
And after the court hearing, Gunn told reporters that all she wanted to do was be left alone to do her gardening.
In her first appearance since she was arrested last month the 63-year-old Aucklander appeared in the Manukau District Court this morning to face three charges after trying to conduct an on-camera interview without seeking permission.
Gunn has been charged with wilfully trespassing, resisting arrest and assault.
She pleaded not guilty and is now due to reappear in court on June 7.
Gunn had spoken to Judge Richard McIlraith about getting access to the airport security footage of the incident.
She said it was important for transparency and justice.
“I would never be violent towards another person,” she said.
The security footage matter will be dealt with at the June case review hearing.
As part of her bail conditions, Gunn was given an order to not go near the woman she is alleged to have assaulted.
Co-accused Jonathan Clark, who was with Gunn at the airport attempting to film inside the international terminal, was charged with wilfully trespassing and resisting arrest.
He also pleaded not guilty.
Talking after the court appearance, Gunn told media: “I am nothing and nobody.”
“I just want to do my gardening. "
She then urged people to be self-sufficient and grow their own vegetables and put money into gold and silver.
Gunn said that she was still suffering from the February incident including a fractured wrist and migraines.
She called for the resignation of Police Commissioner Andrew Coster after the airport incident.
Clark was given a general non-violence order against people or property for his bail conditions.
The courtroom was packed ahead of this morning’s proceedings with supporters who missed out on seats in the public gallery left standing. Gunn, who sat with her supporters in court, is wearing a brace on her injured right wrist.
Gunn said before her appearance she was only at the airport to greet friends arriving back in New Zealand like hundreds of other people.
“All we had was a slightly bigger camera,” she said.
Outside the courtroom, Gunn appealed for 12 “good and true men and women " to sit alongside her after discovering the public seating was limited.
Around a dozen supporters, including aspiring politician and Destiny church leader Hannah Tamaki, have turned out.
The former TV presenter was arrested on February 25 after a scuffle at the airport’s international arrivals hall.
She and Clark had been trying to film the arrival into New Zealand of members of a family who had been kept in lockdown in Tokelau after refusing the Covid vaccine but Gunn characterised that encounter as “simply filming friends arriving” and claimed she was not verbally trespassed by Auckland Airport staff before police became involved.
Auckland Airport requires media to seek clearance before they film there - a long-standing rule that is well-known by the media.
Gunn claimed the rules did not apply to her.
“We make no regular income and are not a commercial enterprise, we do this mahi from love.”
At this morning’s hearing the prominent anti-vaccine campaigner will seek to gain access to Auckland Airport security footage.
She said it was crucial evidence for their case and was currently being withheld by the airport.
She claimed she had no idea who she had assaulted and said she still in a lot of pain from the ordeal.
The airport had refused her request citing the privacy of others in the terminal at the time which stood to be compromised if released.
Speaking outside court, Gunn said it was alarming she was being denied footage from the airport.
After her arrest Gunn described police actions as “vicious” and claiming she offered no resistance to a “hulk” of a police officer.
In a text message to broadcaster Sean Plunket the broadcaster recounted the arrest in detail, making several references to fascism and communism.
“I’m 63, weighed less than half the hulk’s size, offered no resistance and within 15 seconds he had my arm sharply and very roughly high twisted behind my back, was pulling at my thumb while contorting my hand at the wrist and kicking me under my body.
She claimed the man responded “good” when she said he was hurting her and said she felt like her thumb was going to break during the arrest.
The police said they could not comment about Gunn’s claims while the matter was before the courts. Auckland Airport directed any questions to the police.
After starting her career as a litigation lawyer, Gunn presented Sunday for TVNZ in the early 1990s. She was part of the original TVNZ Breakfast team alongside Mike Hosking and Susan Wood in 1997. In 2001, Gunn took Alison Mau’s place as host, forming a team alongside Hosking, but sparked headlines when she suddenly quit live on air.
During her stint at TVNZ between 1990 and 2003, Gunn also worked at Radio New Zealand, hosting a number of shows before finishing in 2016.
Her more recent media activities have played out on social media in the shape of conspiratorial videos. She was also a prominent supporter of the parents in the case of Baby W - in which the baby’s parents did not want their ill baby to receive a blood transfusion from anyone who had received the Covid vaccine.
In 2021, Gunn suggested that an earthquake that hit the central North Island was Mother Nature’s response to then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about new vaccination targets, passports, and the traffic light system.