Simon Bridges says the Government could cut funding or at least make their expectations clear to universities in response to former National Party leader Don Brash's talk at Massey University being cancelled.
"We don't want to see a culture war develop in this country, where universities in particular which are meant to be bastions of free speech actually get into narrower and narrower view points where only certain kinds of views are countenanced," Mr Bridges said on TVNZ1's Q+A last night.
"Frankly, we've had the Canadians... but Don Brash and banning him from giving what would have a been a pretty anodyne speech, it's ridiculous."
Massey University said in a statement last week members of the politics club were concerned about violence after a post on social media, which led to the university cancelling the scheduled talk.
Mr Bridges thought the Government had tools to deal with the situation, with the possibility of funding cuts "at an extreme level".
"I do think they need to send a message that free speech really matters."
"They fund the universities, I haven't gone through the legislative framework but they'd certainly have tools there."
Mr Bridges said funding cuts could be "one end of the spectrum", as would the Minister of Tertiary Education speaking with the university to outline expectations.
He said Mr Brash has "controversial views"... "but goodness gracious, he should be allowed on campus, he should be able to say things".