Police escort for Green MP Golriz Ghahraman after ACT's David Seymour called her a menace
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/112882626/-

2019-05-21 06:46:48

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is now accompanied by a security escort at all times following a series of death threats.

The MP has seen a significant escalation in threats of violence following comments by ACT MP David Seymour, a source told Stuff.

Ghahraman also said it was fuelled by a Newshub report on white supremacy, which detailed online threats including "hanging her like a lynch mob".

Initially, the Green Party said Ghahraman was to get a police escort, but the MP clarified that she will be accompanied by a Parliamentary Service security officer.

"It's Parliamentary Security, the security plan came about together with New Zealand Police and Parliamentary Security but my understanding is that the escort, which starts today [Tuesday], is Parliamentary Security... in leaving the House.

"They have deemed the threat to be at a level that that is necessary."

That risk was being assessed each time Parliament enters a sitting period.

Ghahraman said it was "distressing".

She also said: "After Christchurch, New Zealand has asked us to be different. New Zealanders want us to debate issue robustly but to keep personal issues out of it...we have all learned that words, including online posts, have consequences sometimes."

Ghahraman, a list MP since 2017, was flanked by Green Party leader James Shaw while speaking to reporters at Parliament. A Green Party camera operator also filmed the exchange, which is unusual.

Seymour was interviewed by Magic Talk radio's Sean Plunket about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's proposed "Christchurch Call". His remarks were later highlighted by Seymour's party on Twitter.

He referred to "mass murderers" in history such as Mao Tse Tung, Stalin and Hitler using the suppression of free expression to gain power. He then added: "I just think Golriz Ghahraman is completely wrong. I don't know if she understands what she is saying but Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country."

Seymour said he didn't feel responsible for the threats. "We have robust debates, she gives as good as she gets.

"We should be blaming the people who are making these threats not trying to politicise the issue by blaming particular politicians."

He said in a number of instances, Ghahraman had personally attacked him. "I've said that she is a menace to a particular issue, which is freedom of speech.

"That is quite different, that is debating the issues...to try and out that on me and somehow suspend political debate and let thugs and bullies effectively win."

National MP Judith Collins had defended Ghahraman, after Seymour's comments.

"Time for some 'time out' on this," she tweeted. "Please don't refer to Golriz in this way. I do not agree with almost anything she says but she is a person and it does not assist political debate to dehumanise her like that."

It comes as Speaker Trevor Mallard published a damning report into a bullying culture at Parliament.

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