Workers inspect the damage done to New Zealand's parliament building on Jan 13, 2021, after a man with an axe smashed the glass doors. (Photo: AP/Nick Perry)

Man smashes New Zealand parliament doors with axe

Police said a man armed with an axe smashed the glass doors that form the main entrance to New Zealand's parliament early on Wednesday (Jan 13) but did not attempt to enter the building.

Police said they were called to the complex in the capital, Wellington, at about 5.30am (12.30am Singapore time) after getting reports that a man had been seen with an axe.

The 31-year-old man was arrested without incident in about 10 minutes.

"The man caused some damage to glass panels but did not attempt to enter the building," the police said.

New Zealand's 120 lawmakers are currently on a summer break, and there were few people in the building at the time.

The man has been charged with intentional damage and possession of an offensive weapon. If found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.

Attacks on the parliament and on lawmakers are rare in New Zealand, a country of 5 million people, where ministers and top officials walk freely and are often seen mixing with the public at shops and cafes in the capital, Wellington.

In another rare attack in 2019, Climate Change minister James Shaw was punched in the face while walking to work.

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