Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he would not ban US President Donald Trump for his views on immigration but stands by his call to ban two controversial Canadians accused of hate speech from using council facilities.
On TVNZ's Q and A today, Goff was asked if his logic on banning the pair applied to Trump's provocative language this weekend on immigration in Europe.
Goff, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade who could welcome Trump to Auckland in 2021 at the Apec leaders' conference, said it was a difference of degree.
I'm not banning them. I'm just not going to aid and abet their malicious comments about part of our community by providing them with a venue
"I don't agree with much of what Donald Trump says and I'm not about banning him but I am about banning people who say that Hitler was provoked into the holocaust to massacre six million Jews and I can judge you on the colour of your skin," he said.
The Auckland Mayor has provoked a huge debate about free speech after banning Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, known for far-right alternative views on everything from feminism, gender and immigration to Islam, from speaking at Takapuna's Bruce Mason Centre on August 3.
His actions prompted a crowdfunding campaign run by the Free Speech Coalition, which has raised more than $50,000 to bring judicial proceedings against the council.
Goff said he was happy to fight this in court, saying "we will win".
He said that as mayor of a hugely diverse city where 40 per cent of the population is born overseas he has an obligation to protect ethnic and religious minorities who are being brought into contempt and being abused, provoked and insulted with the sort of language these people are using.
"I'm not banning them. I'm just not going to aid and abet their malicious comments about part of our community by providing them with a venue," he said.
The matter was brought to his attention by the council's arm which runs large facilities like the Bruce Mason Centre and Aotea Centre with concerns about a security threat and the pair's views probably being inconsistent with guidelines not to bring the council into disrepute.
Goff said a debate would have occurred if he had of granted Southern and Molyneux the right to use council halls.
"A large section of Auckland would have said what the hell are you doing helping these people," Goff said.