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Grant Robertson Must Engage With Media On Challenging Topics

The Free Speech Coalition is calling on the Deputy Prime Minister to ‘harden up’ labelling his pulling out of a weekly slot on Magic Talk with Peter Williams as a ‘pathetic’ and ‘completely irrational response’ to being asked to respond to a conspiracy theory.

Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Jordan Williams says: "Where this goes is to effectively ban media from asking politicians to dispel or respond to conspiracy theories. While Mr Robertson may feel he’s not dignifying fringe-ideas with a response, his petulant decision is far more likely to help proliferate those very same fringe-ideas."

"Mr Robertson has ungenerously presented Peter Williams as wasting his time, but the veteran host was in fact handing Robertson an important opportunity to educate Magic Talk listeners as to why much of the commentary around the ‘Great Reset’, post-COVID growth initiative, was conspiratorial nonsense."

"Does our Deputy Prime Minister really believe dispelling misinformation is beneath him? Why else do we listen to politicians if not to have the record set straight?"

"What seems more likely is Robertson is cynically riding a wave of anti-Magic Talk sentiment within his base to avoid contentious interviews."

"Maybe Mr Robertson should seek the advice of Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern who has fronted often extremely hostile interviews with Mike Hosking. Would she enjoy such grillings? Unlikely. But the PM clearly understands that she has a duty to not only address misinformation, but to engage with Kiwis on the other side of the political fence."

"If some listeners were teetering as to the nature of the ‘Great Reset’ Mr Robertson’s unprofessionalism here likely tipped them over to the conspiratorial side. We counter bad ideas with better ideas, and address misinformation with facts. This is why free speech is so central to democracy: bad and false ideas can be freely aired precisely so they can be addressed by more informed

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