Venkat Raman (Indian Newslink)
Auckland, July 13, 2018
National Party Leader Simon Bridges has taken a ‘fencing position,’ in stating that while ‘he himself may have banned (if he was in government) the hate speeches of Canadian activists Laruen Southern and Stefan Molyneux,’ he would not ‘ban freedom of speech.’
Speaking to the members and supporters of his Party at a breakfast meeting hosted by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown at the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club this morning, he said, “I would not accept either a ban or limits to the right of speech. People should be able to hear various views and opinions. New Zealand is a democracy and should not attempt to ‘shut off’ people,” he said.
Mayor’s stand understandable
He was responding to a question about the concerns expressed by the Muslim community in New Zealand on the impending visit of Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux to New Zealand and the decision of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff not to provide Council venues for their meetings. Accordingly, a public meeting scheduled to be held at Bruce Mason Centre (a Council-owned property) in Takapuna on August 3, 2018 has been cancelled.
“While the Canadian activists do not like Muslims, we have also had Muslims who hate Jews and have expressed Anti-Semitic views at public meetings. I respect all religions and National Party believes in inclusive politics. But that does not mean we can ask people to stop talking or expressing their views,” he said.
Mr Bridges said that the Mayor’s stand was understandable.
The main thrust of his speech however was the Labour-led Coalition government led by Labour Party Leader and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand First Leader and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
“This is a useless and incompetent government,” he said.
“They do not know what to do. They have so far appointed 140 Groups and Working Committees to study various issues, instead of getting on with the tasks before them. We are facing industrial action, while the cost of living is going up all the time. Labour has slogans, not policies Business confidence has begun to slide,” he said.
Support where due
Mr Bridges said that while he and his Party will hold the government to account, measures that accrue benefits to New Zealand and New Zealanders, will receive support. He cited the Free Trade talks with the European Union and other countries as an example.
He was highly critical of Winston Peters, the man he defeated in the Tauranga Constituency in the November 2008 General Election.
“He is getting rusty every day and keeps changing his views every day. He always loses- either as a part of the government or in opposition,” Mr Bridges said.
He said that the National Party was in a ‘fantastic position,’ ‘has never been so strong,’ and ‘has never had its MPs all fired-up.’
“We polled the 44.7% of votes, the largest in the electoral history of New Zealand. Our Party is still very popular,” he said.
But he admitted that there was never been a ‘One-Term Government,’ although National would put up a great fight in the next General Election due in 2020.
“I have not made up my mind as to the Party with which we will partner in the next General Election,” he said.
Mr Bridges spent the day in Pakuranga, as a part of his leadership style of keeping close to National Party members and supporters in various constituencies.
National Party Leader Simon Bridges speaking at the Breakfast meeting hosted by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown at Bucklands Beach Yacht Club this morning (INL Picture)