Let far-right pair debate our ‘very best people’ on TV - Garner

The AM Show 03/08/2018

Duncan Garner wants a pair of visiting far-right speakers to have a primetime slot on free-to-air TV.

But they should have to defend their extreme claims in a debate with "our very best people", the host of The AM Show told viewers and listeners on Friday.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux touched down at Auckland Airport on Thursday night, ahead of a speaking engagement at an undisclosed venue Friday evening.

"For many of you, you'll think they're downright disgusting, these people and their views," Garner said.

Put them up against our very best people… and run it live on television at 7:30pm.

"Others, well you might nod - silently, privately. But we all have opinions, and some are based on fact and some are clearly based on ignorance."

Ms Southern is best-known for trying to prevent the rescue of migrants and refugees at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean. In March she was denied entry to the UK.

Mr Molyneux believes white people are undergoing a deliberate genocide, some races have lower IQs than others and women are to blame for violent men.

Protesters are expected to descend on the venue, once it has been announced.

Photo: AAP.

"These guys are running a business. They rely on us getting upset. They're their own great self-marketers, and upset we did. Phil Goff did more for these two than anybody by banning them from Auckland Council buildings," said Garner. "They can't speak at our place, says Phil, and bang - away it went."

The decision not to host Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux was made by council-controlled organisation Regional Facilities Auckland on health and safety grounds. Mr Goff backed the call, saying the pair's views are "repugnant".

Garner said New Zealand entertains "leaders of countries that execute their people without trial" on a weekly basis "without scrutiny".

"I wonder if we've already failed the freedom of expression and tolerance test by making such a fuss about these two people, who merely are spouting their views on things, whether they're right or wrong.

Photo: AAP.

"We should welcome them in, but this is what we should do - put them up against our very best people, our best debaters on these issues, and run it live on television at 7:30pm.

"Free speech, free-to-air, really important. Cherish it. Most of us are smart enough just to shake our heads and say 'that's ignorant' or whatever... it's hate speech. It can be hate speech, it can be whatever speech it is. But thankfully those sorts of groups in New Zealand rarely flourish, but we allow them to exist - and that is a must."

Ticket-holders will be notified of the venue later on Friday.

Watch the full commentary above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.