National refuses to follow Speaker's order to remove videos from social media, in 'interests of freedom of expression'

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

National is refusing to take down social media videos of the Government despite orders from Speaker Trevor Mallard, with Simon Bridges saying it was a move in the "interests of freedom of expression and against censorship".

Simon Bridges.

Yesterday, Labour Party Whip Kieran McAnulty complained about National's use of Parliament TV footage "for political advertising" without permission from MPs, claiming National were publishing "a false and misleading account of proceedings". 

National had until 5pm today to take down videos, which contained edited Parliament TV footage of MPs such as Labour's Deborah Russell speaking about wellbeing, Phil Twyford on KiwiBuild and Green Party's Julie Anne Genter on the electric vehicle (EV) car fee. 

Going a step further, the party re-uploaded the video of Deborah Russell, captioned: "National believes in freedom of speech. That’s why we won't delete social media videos as the Speaker of the House has ruled after a complaint from Labour."

Mr Bridges accused the Speaker of attempting "to stop us from holding the Government to account", saying it "effectively gags us for a significant period of time". 

"Freedom of speech is of fundamental importance to our Parliamentary democracy and to New Zealanders."

He said National pointed out the ban would include videos made from Labour, The Greens and NZ First in Opposition, Mr Bridges said an amendment was made to the time frame of the beginning of this year. 

"We have the highest respect for the role of the Speaker and his Office. But in the interests of freedom of expression and against censorship, we will keep the videos up to decisively bring this to a head," Mr Bridges said. 

1 NEWS has approached Speaker Trevor Mallard for comment.

Yesterday, Mr Mallard said "the only change made was to remove the ban on using the footage for satire or ridicule".

"Mr McAnulty's letter has highlighted the existence of a range of videos posted by different parties that use footage of members for political advertising. I would be very surprised if those members had given permission, as the rules clearly require."

Mr Mallard said if the rules were broken, it could "result in the loss of access to that footage and may be treated as a contempt".