New Zealand is likely at much greater risk of politically motivated violence than the general public realises.
Anti-democratic fringe groups and movements - like QAnon, Sovereign Citizens, and white supremacists - are reaching more people with their messages and radicalising people in a way that our country hasn't seen in the modern era.
Our security and intelligence services are sounding the alarm. The number of death threats against politicians and journalists is growing.
Importantly, the threats are directed against both sides of politics. This is not the normal democratic contest getting overheated. This is about a rising tide of explicitly anti-democratic groups who reject the legitimacy of governments elected by the people and call for their violent overthrow.
Much of the rhetoric we are seeing is imported from offshore - the QAnon fantasy of a secret cabal that controls governments around the world comes directly from the US, where it has resulted in a number of terrorist attacks and played a role in the January 6 riot.
Likewise, the Sovereign Citizen movement, whose members believe they can reject any law they don't think should apply to them, originated in places such as the US and Canada, where it too has led to violent attacks on police and public servants.
And these ideas are often egged on and weaponised by hostile intelligence agencies with a vested interest in eroding our trust in democratically elected governments. It's no coincidence that many of the online accounts promoting political violence in New Zealand are also stridently pro-Putin and anti-Nato.
But while there's no doubt that extremists have used the opposition to vaccine mandates in particular as a fertile recruiting ground, we need to be really careful not to lump all opposition to mandates and even vaccines in with these anti-democratic and violent groups.
The Government's response to Covid 19 - from the lockdowns to the vaccine mandates - involved the biggest intrusion of the state into New Zealander's lives since World War II. A democratic society was always going to trigger pushback against such moves.
And as the pandemic recedes, case numbers fall and the Government can drop many of the Covid restrictions, you would expect to see the heat come out of the issue for many.
It was an encouraging sign in that sense that the recent Brian Tamaki-led protest at Parliament was smaller and more peaceful than the February occupation.
But as 2019's March 15 terror attacks showed, it's often people who are socially isolated, radicalised online and quietly plotting their attacks alone who are the hardest for the authorities to identify and stop. That risk only grows as ideas like QAnon and Sovereign Citizen ideology take hold.
The good news is our grandparents actually left us a pretty good "how to" guide when it comes to sustaining democratic societies and beating back extremists.
After the Depression and a world war, policymakers learned that a democratic society requires a strong and growing market economy, with widely shared prosperity, high levels of home ownership, and a growing middle class. Alongside this came the extension of rights and protections to groups that have been previously marginalised.
Our forebears knew that shared prosperity and social inclusion starve anti-democratic ideologies of their power and appeal.
When we see people waving He Whakaputanga flags marching alongside people in Maga hats calling for politicians to be hanged, it shows you we're not living up to that legacy.
Modern New Zealand's persistent problems with low wages, rising inequality, falling homeownership and entrenched poverty and discrimination aren't just failures of social policy.
Collectively, they represent a failure to do what we know works best at keeping extremism at bay.
If we don't have a society and an economy where people feel like they belong and are guaranteed a fair shot at life, we only create room for dangerous forces to grow.
When we expand economic opportunity and guarantee good housing, good healthcare, and a sense of security in people's lives, we don't just make this a better country to live in, we rob extremists of their most powerful recruitment tools.
If we want to stop the rising tide of anti-democratic extremism in New Zealand, we need to redouble our efforts to build a fairer society.
Hayden Munro was the campaign manager for Labour's successful 2020 election win. He now works in corporate PR for Wellington-based firm Capital Communications and Government Relations.