Winston Peters would have let far-right commentators talk at venue on 'basis of free speech'

Winston Peters would have let far-right commentators Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux speak to preserve freedom of speech, he said today. 

It comes after Canadian activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were not allowed to use a Auckland Council venue. Source: 1 NEWS

During a press conference today, he said if it were up to him he would have let the Canadian pair talk, after Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he would not let any Auckland Council venue to be used by them.

Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux then cancelled their visit to New Zealand.

Mr Bridges said while he does "disagree strongly" with the views of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, "freedom of speech matters". Source: Breakfast

The Acting Prime Minister said "despite the fact that what they might have to say is a very antithesis of what nearly all of us believe here, we still believe in their freedom and their right to express it in free speech."

He said if it had been up to him, "we'd have allowed them to come on the basis of free speech".

"We should be very careful who we expel on that cause because the downstream historically record on that has been just disastrous," Mr Peters said. 

He also questioned whether the mayor had made the decision alone or with council approval. 

Auckland Live, who run the Bruce Mason Centre where they were to speak, tweeted the cancellation was due to "security concerns around the health and safety of the presenters, staff and patrons". 

This came after Mr Goff tweeted the pair would not be speaking at Auckland Council venues last Friday.