A 41-year-old man has been charged with assault for allegedly throwing muck over Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee after the memorial service for the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake.

Chirstchurch Police confirmed the charge this afternoon after Mr Brownlee had an ice cream container filled with what he described as "pretty mucky stuff" tipped over his head.

The Prime Minister was at the memorial service but did not see the incident. He was not available for comment immediately.

Labour leader Andrew Little said he was near Mr Brownlee at the time and believed the action was unacceptable.


"I don't think it's ever acceptable to throw a sludgy mix over anybody, but this was a commemorative occasion and it isn't the time to take up whatever the issue was that the person was protesting about."

He said they were there in solidarity with the families who had lost loved ones in the quake five years ago and to reflect on that disaster.

"I think it detracted from a solemn occasion, a fairly emotional service."

He said the substance looked like "a sludgy, stewy sort of mix."

It comes after Steven Joyce had a novelty fake squeaky dildo thrown at him at Waitangi on February 5, but the woman who threw it was not charged.

Mr Brownlee told Newstalk ZB a man had tipped a 2 litre ice cream container full of "pretty mucky stuff over my head".

He did not want to speculate on what was in the container, but it "didn't smell too good."

He said it had taken him by surprise.


"It was just a guy who just walked up at the end of the Memorial service and said' this is for you'."

A video of the aftermath of the incident on Mediaworks shows Mr Brownlee with his hair covered in brown sludge and smears of it on his face, glasses and down his front.

A man offers Mr Brownlee a handkerchief which he declines.

Mr Little can then then be seen patting Mr Brownlee on the back and appears to check he is alright.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the memorial service was the time to remember those who lost their lives in the earthquake.

"While everyone has the right to protest, it's disappointing someone chose an occasion such as this to target a government representative in such a way. Our MPs work incredibly hard for their communities and it is unacceptable for anyone to be treated in this way."