Watch: Don Brash responds to Massey University on air

Drive 07/08/2018

Massey University is under-fire for the cancellation of a Don Brash speaking event.

Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas said “security concerns” were behind the cancellation, but went on to cite concerns about Dr Brash’s controversial views.

She said there is a feeling of "heightened sensitivity and passion" following the New Zealand visit of far-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux.

Dr Brash was "dumbfounded" when he was told an event he was due to speak at was cancelled due to "security concerns" on Tuesday morning.

"I wasn’t aware of any previous security concerns," he told RadioLIVE Drive.

"It appals me that the university will withdrawal the invitation on the basis that unspoken people have made some kind of threat.”  

Not short of controversy, Dr Brash recently complained about the use of Te Reo greetings on RNZ and backed legal action against Auckland Council over its refusal to allow two alt-right Canadian speakers access to a council-owned venue.

Asked by RadioLIVE Drive host Ryan Bridge if he was a racist, Dr Brash responded: “If being racist is about demanding the same political rights for every citizen regardless of their ethnicity and regardless of their ancestry, then perhaps I could be a racist.

“But that cannot surely be racist to want the same political rights as everybody,” Dr Brash said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the cancellation was an "overreaction".

Ms Ardern's described Massey University's decision as such during Question Time on Tuesday afternoon.

"Ultimately, institutions have their own freedom on a day to day basis," she said, in answer to a question from ACT's David Seymour. Mr Seymour is calling for universities that "undermine freedom of expression" to be defunded.

Watch the full interview above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.