“Public libraries should be a place for all members of the community and public events shouldn’t be shut down because of political agendas,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This week both Dunedin and Christchurch Libraries have cancelled events by the group ‘Speak up for Women.’ This group wants to have a public discussion about amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Bill.

"In a democracy, councils are accountable to the people, not the other way around. We don't pay our rates for councils to censor our thoughts.

“This is the same group that was cancelled from speaking at Massey University. At the time I said “There is a growing danger of taxpayer-funded universities abusing their health and safety obligations in order to ‘deplatform’ speakers whom small groups of vocal activists find controversial.”

“Sadly, it’s not just taxpayer funded universities who have conformed to cancel culture, it’s also ratepayer funded libraries. Once again ‘health and safety’ has been used as an excuse.

“Health and safety should not be allowed to be used as an excuse to ‘deplatform’ speakers unless there are threats to physical safety.

“I hosted this group at Parliament after they were rejected from Massey University. I don’t agree with everything they say, but I believe they have the right to debate important issues.

"The small vocal group of self-appointed opinionators who complained about this need to mind their own business and let adult citizens in a free society mind theirs.

“ACT will always fight for freedom of speech. We exist to have honest conversations about difficult issues and to unite New Zealanders behind good ideas.”

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David Seymour