“Auckland Transport must ignore the lynch mob baying for an employee who made an innocuous Facebook comment,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

“The employee commented on Facebook ‘there’s some elements of the trans agenda being sneakily promoted through this campaign.’ Astoundingly Auckland Transport, who are supposed to help people get around Auckland, says the comment has created an ‘employment issue.’

“If New Zealanders can’t express honestly held opinions without fear of an online lynch mob threatening their employment, we have little hope of making progress or building understanding as a society.

“It is extraordinary that Auckland Transport are taking the matter seriously. All they need to say is that they do not have concern for what people share in their private capacity unless it relates to Auckland Transport or breaks the law.

“If Auckland Transport are going to be concerned about employee welfare, they might consider the actions of the second employee who chose to share the first employee’s comment, identifying Auckland Transport as the employer. Online pile ons can be much more harmful than an innocuous comment.

“This kind of censorship will only be made worse if the Government introduces so-called hate speech laws, meaning that people will face lynch mobs backed by the state.

“The ability to speak freely so long as you are not inciting or threatening a crime is critical to the wellbeing of individuals and progress in our society. It is something we should all make an effort to save.

“In the meantime, Auckland Transport should say where freedom of speech fits into their values.

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David Seymour