Simon Bridges on free speech

Simon Bridges talking in Blenheim about his views on free speech 9 August 2018.  Transcript follows.

I think what has happened over the last few weeks is an absolute disgrace. We need to get back to the old fashioned bedrock principles of people are allowed to say what they want. Yes, there will be some thing right up the top called hate speech. If some came in here and was threatening, I won’t give threat examples, threatening to do terrible things to [indistinct] you know, there is a line, but we would set that bar very, very, high because people should be allowed to say what they want.

That’s the sort of society we want to live in.

What’s really going on in New Zealand at the moment is that some of them think that they can shout down people who disagree with them. That’s what is really going on. They think that that is the way to go. They will get themselves in to a politically correct cocoon where only people who are in there are allowed to say things as part of the conversation.

Well, that’s rubbish.

Don Brash: I don’t agree with everything he says. He’s been former Reserve Bank Governor, he’s been former leader of the Opposition, he’s a smart man. He’s not said anything remotely approaching racist.  [Indistinct]

He was banned, it is a disgrace what has happened, we do have to stand up for free speech, to be quite strong on these things.

Ultimately, my view is this: You are smart, fair-minded people, you can make up your own minds. You don’t need Aunty Helen, or Jacinda Ardern telling you what it is you should or shouldn’t find acceptable. That is not a free speech, mature, democratic country.


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