No sympathy from Seymour for alleged racist

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour addresses party faithful in Dunedin on Saturday night....
Act New Zealand leader David Seymour. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
David Seymour does not believe his positions on freedom of speech have been lost in translation after he was besieged by an alleged white supremacist in Ashburton on Thursday.

Lee Williams - who was recently fired by dairy company Synlait and dumped by his bank after he posted a "satire" of Maori Party MP Rawiri Waitit - was looking for a sympathetic ear in the form of ACT Party leader during his public stand up on Thursday.

Instead he was sent packing.

Seymour's unresponsive attitude towards the man riled him further, who then accused the ACT leader of "not asking the real questions".

"You're saying it's OK if 10,000 people sign a petition to get a man sacked from his job and destroyed and cancelled - you're saying that's okay?" Williams asked.

"You have to ask yourself why these things are happening," Seymour replied.

The man later confronted Seymour following his speech.

Seymour has expressed concerns in the past around Government proposals to criminalise hate speech in the wake of the mosque attacks which he believed would complicated "political discussion".

Details of the reforms were announced by Justice Minister Kris Faafoi only last month.

Seymour clarified his views on freedom of speech when asked if his message had been lost in translation.

"When we talk about free speech, it is the right not to have the police come and arrest you," he said.

"It does not include the right to be free of consequences."

Seymour later said the man needed to take "some personal responsibility".

"If he's truly being discriminated against, by his employer or his bank, then there are laws he can call on," he said.

"Employment law generally makes it impossible to fire anyone, so if he's done something under New Zealand employment law he must have done something pretty bad."

 - by Adam Burns, Local Democracy Reporter

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