Politicians have come to the defence of Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman after Act leader David Seymour called her a "menace to freedom in this country".
Seymour was speaking to MediaWorks' Magic Talk radio host Sean Plunket yesterday about the issue of freedom of speech in relation to the Christchurch Call summit.
Plunket suggested figures such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ghahraman subscribed to the notion that speech could create mass murderers and therefore needed to be controlled.
Seymour then referred to "mass murderers" in history such as Mao Tse Tung, Stalin and Hitler using the suppression of free expression to gain power before saying "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."
The exchange set off a firestorm on Twitter, with Seymour being branded a bully, among other things.
Ghahraman responded on Twitter, saying Seymour was dog-whistling to racists.
National Party heavyweight Judith Collins then stepped in, calling for a "timeout".
"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."
Among those who thanked Collins for her comments were Green MPs Chloe Swarbrick and Julie-Anne Genter, who yesterday called some motorists "fascists".