Former National Party leader Don Brash says he wasn't fussed by a two-year-old tweet about him by comedian Guy Williams which has stirred controversy this week.
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman told Newshub on Tuesday that she would be escorted by a parliamentary security guard after ACT leader David Seymour labelled her a “menace to freedom”.
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Ghahraman said she saw a spike in threats after the comments, which came only days after Newshub revealed how white supremacists had discussed lynching Ghahraman in a closed forum.
When asked if he felt responsible for the alleged increase in threats made against Ghahraman, Seymour said: “No, I’m not responsible.”
At the same time, a two-year-old tweet by Williams, Ghahraman's partner, resurfaced showing a picture of Brash crossing the road, and Williams commenting "Don Brash! Should I hit him. No F*** chill out".
Some on Twitter said it was hypocritical for Williams to support Ghahraman in the face of threats of political violence when he had posted a tweet they claimed also threatened a political figure.
Williams apologised on Thursday, saying it was a "shit joke and a shit thing to say".
"I'm embarrassed that I said it. Sorry Don."
Williams was on Sean Plunket's Magic Talk show on Friday with Brash, and the comedian reiterated that the tweet hadn't been meant as a threat.
"Two years ago, I was driving to work and I probably dodgily got my camera phone out and took a photo of you, and when I got to work, I tweeted 'Don Brash is in front of me'," he said.
"It was intended as a joke, but it has since been brought to my attention that it may have been a threat, and I promise you I am very sorry about making that threat. I am really sorry about it."
Brash said he had only seen it on Thursday and assumed it was a joke.
"Fortunately, in New Zealand, we don't do political violence and that is one of the great things about the country," he said.
"I recognise it as a joke and certainly didn't take offence."
Brash also said people were "too precious" about what is threatening and didn't believe that tweet met such criteria.
But Williams said his opinion on joking about people had recently changed, and he was trying to be more aware of people's life experiences.
"What has changed for me is that what I realised is that the experience in life, and especially on the internet, is different depending on your gender, your ethnicity, your sexuality," he said.
"What I am saying is that I noticed that on Twitter, for example, women get a lot harder time than men."
"I am held to a different standard. When people debate with me, they normally debate about the actual issue rather than something completely arbitrary."
He regretted some of things he had previously said and was open to looking at any of his comments if someone felt offended by them.
Listen to the video above for the full interview.