Former National Party leader Don Brash confronted by sword-wielding man
An Auckland Council candidate's campaign launch has been violently interrupted by a sword-wielding man.
Ngapuhi leader David Rankin, who is standing in the Waitakere Ward, was joined by former National and ACT party leader Don Brash for the launch on Great North Rd in Glendene on Monday afternoon.
During a media interview with TVNZ a man pulled up in a car with a young child in the passenger seat.
Brash, who was there to support Rankin, said on Tuesday morning that the "enormous" man was clearly agitated and jumped out of the car holding a sword at least a metre long.
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"It looked like a ceremonial sword but it looked like it could do some serious damage if used with appropriate force."
He believed the man had randomly happened across the interview, rather than arrived to interrupt it on purpose.
Most of those present quickly left the scene but Rankin attempted to calm the man, Brash said.
"I think we were all a bit dismayed by the spectacle."
Brash said police were called and he left the scene shortly afterward.
Rankin said his main concern was for the young boy in the car and he believed the man to be under the influence of drugs.
"He was ranting and threatening us with his sword."
A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a call about the man, aged 42, "yelling and waving" a sword about 1.30pm.
When they arrived the man was gone but his car was later located in Kelston.
A low-speed chase ensued and police drove alongside the man, who still had his child in the car, pleading for him to stop.
Police managed to block the vehicle in on Victor St in Avondale and detained the man for treatment under the care of health authorities.
The child was unharmed.
TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie said his team never felt in danger or were concerned for their safety.
When the man got out of the car the sword was pointed at the ground and he did not appear to have any violent intent, he said.
* Audio courtesy of RNZ.