David Seymour denies responsibility over threats to Golriz Ghahraman

David Seymour has denied responsibility over threats to Golriz Ghahraman after the Green MP revealed she'll now be escorted by a security guard. 

Seymour, leader of the ACT Party, said Ghahraman "gives as good as she gets", and pointed blame at those who "make these disgusting threats". 

Ghahraman revealed to Newshub on Tuesday that she would be escorted by a parliamentary security guard after Seymour labelled her a "menace to freedom" earlier this week. 

Seymour's comments came two days after a Newhub story revealed white supremacists had discussed lynching Ghahraman on a closed forum online. 

When asked if he felt responsible for the increase in threats made against Ghahraman, Seymour said: "No, I'm not responsible."

He told Newshub: "We should both be against the kind of bullying from people who are criminals because it is a crime to threaten someone with violence."

Seymour said he hadn't personally attacked her and rather "attacked her views", adding: "I've said that she's a menace to a particular issue which is freedom of speech - that's quite different, that's debating the issues."

ACT leader David Seymour.
ACT leader David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub

"I don't think that it is fair or right to try and politicise the tragedy of Members of Parliament or any citizen of this country being threatened with violence and try and put that onto me."

Ghahraman said she was advised by parliamentary security and New Zealand police that her security risk would be escalated and that she'd have an escort in terms of when she's leaving Parliament. 

Pointing to the independent review into bullying in Parliament that revealed on Tuesday instances of sexual assault and harassment, Ghahraman said attitudes need to change. 

"We know today that the concern about culture in this place [Parliament] around experiencing bullying and there's a toxic culture that we all need to address.

"I think after Christchurch as well, New Zealand has asked us to be different - New Zealanders want us to debate issues robustly but to keep personal attacks out of it.

The controversy stirred up earlier this week when Seymour told Magic Talk: "I just think that Golriz Ghahraman is completely wrong, I don't know if she understands what she is saying, but she is a real menace to freedom in this country."

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman in Parliament.
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman in Parliament. Photo credit: Newshub

Reflecting on that, Ghahraman said: "There's language there that is triggering of certain communities and that includes the white nationalist community, and that language may have fed into that."

Seymour made the comments after expressing concern about agreements like the Christchurch Call leading to greater censorship, and authorities having power to punish people on the basis of what they believe is offensive.

Ghahraman has called for tougher laws around hate speech, saying she wants more protection for religious groups, gender and the Rainbow community. 

The Green MP has also been subject to personal attacks in the past because of her beliefs and her history as a refugee. Last year she revealed the torrents of abuse online from racist and misogynistic trolls she's had to put up with.

National MP Judith Collins stood up for Ghahraman on Monday, telling Magic Talk: "I think it's time we calm down in Parliament and outside of Parliament and just remember that she's just a human being."

But when asked if Ghahraman is kind towards other politicians, Collins said: "No she's not, and I've spoken to her about that too."

Ghahraman said she was considering reporting Seymour's comments to the Speaker Trevor Mallard, which Collins said would be "nonsense". 

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz