Axe-wielding man smashes New Zealand Parliament building doors
A man smashed the glass front doors of New Zealand’s Parliament building with an axe early on Wednesday morning, according to authorities in the country.
Police officers were called to the scene in the capital Wellington, and arrested the man without incident, a New Zealand police spokesperson said.
“The man caused some damage to glass panels but did not attempt to enter the building,” the spokesperson said.
The 31-year-old man appeared at the Wellington District Court Wednesday morning for intentional damage and possession of an offensive weapon, the spokesperson said. The motive for the attack is unclear and police declined to comment further, citing the ongoing court case.
After his court appearance, the man was bailed to a secure mental health unit, and has been seen by a forensic nurse and mental health professional, according to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand (RNZ). He is scheduled to return to court on January 28.
The front entrance, where the smashed panels are located, will be closed until further notice, and a second entrance with rubber doors would be used instead, RNZ reported.
The Parliamentary Service, which oversees the buildings, grounds and administration, is now carrying out a full review of the attack — including whether more stringent security measures are necessary.
Threats to New Zealand’s Parliament are relatively rare, and there is minimal security around the legislature. The grounds are open to the public — office workers frequently have lunch on the grass in front of the building, and children play in the nearby playground.