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On ‘free speech victims’.

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, October 1st, 2019 - 66 comments
Categories: law, Social issues - Tags: , , , , ,

Good to see that the courts upholding the right of venues to decide how they are able to use their facilities and assess risks. From Stuff:-

The High Court has rejected a judicial review of Regional Facilities Auckland’s decision to block two controversial Canadian speakers from using a council-owned venue.

RFA, Auckland Council and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff were sued over the decision to bar Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux.

Free Speech Coalition member David Cumin and Dunedin bookseller Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle, who purchased a premium ticket to the event, sought a number of declarations, including that the decision was unlawful.

A summary of Justice Pheroze​ Jagose’s​ judgment said RFA did not exercise “any public power” in cancelling the event, which was to be held last August.

“Its decision was unaffected by any mayoral view, being founded on legitimate security concerns,” it read.

“Its decision is not subject to judicial review.”

I’ll be interested to see any written judgement and to look through the reasoning. However I always thought this was a hopeless bid to force the Regional Facilities Auckland to do what? Open its facilities to anyone. Give protesters equal rights to speak in its venues? Pay for the stupidity of hirers?

Essentially there were going to be protests around these pair of Canadian  white suprematist bigots speaking here. In New Zealand we don’t have ‘free speech’. What we have is freedom of expression. It is section 14 in the Bill of Rights Act. 

I was planning to go and exercise some freedom of expression myself by protesting against the dumbass and dangerous ideas of the pair of bigots and their supporters who are at the centre of this legal action. While it was quite apparent that tactically this pair of grifters were mostly doing it for the clicks and the cash, their polmugration of bad science and moronic historical reinterpretation was abhorrent to me and many others.

In my view, their grand-standing was specifically designed to incite the kind of actions beloved of cowardly narcissistic bullies. Just like the evil coward who wandered around executing people with semi-automatic weapons in the Christchurch mosques earlier in the year.

Moreover, a major part of my protest would have been about the venue providing the facility that was built using my rates to shelter them from the expression of the opinions of others. The only issue on my mind was if I’d be amplifying my commentary inside or outside the venue (speakers are so small and so very loud these days). 

We have protections for an ability to express our opinions from the Bill of Rights Act and other legislation. They are neither unlimited nor exclusive. That means that as long as I am peaceful (and I invariably am), I have the “freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form (Section 14)”.

This includes inside the RFA facilities provided I pay the fee. The dimwit bigots and their associated supporters may do the same.  I was aware of number of other people who would have been planning to exercise the same freedom of expression as myself. Or I could have done it outside on the public footpath provided we followed the procedures and proscriptions of our society. It has happened before at that theatre when I have been going to Labour party conferences there.

But a theatre is not a particularly safe place to have this kind of ‘debate’ inside. There are just too many things that can go wrong in confined spaces as tempers rise.

Which in essence would have been what the RFA are required to look at, and did. Unlike a Labour party conference which is by invitation only, a public lecture is usually payment for entrance. Which under the Bill of Rights Act would have made it difficult to exclude me. Which is what the RFA would have assessed as being part of the risk. 

This isn’t a restriction on the freedom of expression. It is just an assessment of risk.

There are safer alternatives for freedom of expression. In meat space, there is little to prevent the bigots or myself from airing our differences doing it the same way that everyone else does. You do it in a controlled open public space and without using it as a fund raising opportunity. 

Which is the facility that the public provide for the freedom of expression. This is rather obvious to any one who has spent any time expressing their opinion or just being around public spaces for any length of time. Just go down around Aotea Centre any weekend for the long boring speeches. Or watch parliament TV.

What the litigants appear to have been trying to do in the court was to create a new law by precedent. But there really was no existing law to work from. The right of a group to assemble in a commercial space to denigrate other people, races, and religions regardless of the risk and cost to the owners – simply doesn’t seem to have ever been enacted in NZ.

My advice to the litigants who brought this to the high court is, that if you really want to make new laws, then the best way is to start the 30 year campaign to add them to the body of law. The problem is that you have to actually think about and balance of the rights of others while creating that law – something that this particular set of people don’t seem to be too good at doing.

As it stands, we the public, through our existing laws allow people to hold opinions without interference – subject to the criminal and civil laws of the country. It does not mean that we have to provide the space for them to commercialise those ideas.

The public also provide public spaces like Aotea Square specifically for expressing of information and opinion. The weekend after this cancellation, there was in fact a very peaceful set of demonstrations in Aotea Square that I looked in on. One supporting these Canadian profiteers, and several against from various groups. Along with at least 2 other protests by other groups with completely different causes.

This Friday, there was a rather large peaceful demonstration led by children that started there as well. That seemed to go well – except for the stupid expressions of opinion by some aged male juveniles who let their gearsticks do the thinking.

66 comments on “On ‘free speech victims’. ”

  1. The judgement says:

    Its decision was … founded on legitimate security concerns.

    Or in other words, it was founded on "thugs' veto." Somehow I'm not seeing that as a great victory for civil discourse.

    • lprent 1.1

      So? Any meeting has those security issues. That is the inevitable side effect of having freedom of expression.

      Personally I was planning to attend to heckle and make loud comments. I’m not exactly a ‘thug’. I was considering doing it inside the theatre

      My biggest concern was that there would be people in the audience who’d take offense when I started to describe the types of people I thought the speakers were and the kinds of arseholes some of the audience were.

      This would have been me expressing my opinion. Any violence would have had to come from those who would have been offended. However that is exactly where it has come from in the past.

      So tell me how that makes me a ‘thug’.

      • roy cartland 1.1.1

        "Heckle"

        That's what I would have liked to have done. But of course we would have been manhandled and thrown out or worse.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          Depends how you heckle.

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          Depends how you heckle. I have to say that generally protesters in meetings just aren’t very good at it. Too interested in what they have to say and not interested enough in making the speakers have to justify themselves.

          But also – a public lecture with a small audience – just pay the fee and stack the audience.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        Of course you don't think you are a thug. Not many people do think they are.

        • mac1 1.1.2.1

          The same with fools, and with saints.

          • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1

            and tory arseholes – they tend to self-identify as "centre-right", where the line between "centre right" and "far right" is "happy to let people die through your own negligence" vs "intentionally murdering them"

        • mpledger 1.1.2.2

          Of course people know when they are thugs. Haven't you heard of people glorying in "thug culture".

      • Formerly Ross 1.1.3

        So Lynn, you were going to heckle and make loud comments. Hmmm I am not seeing any threat to safety there. Citing a threat to safety is simply a bullshit excuse from organisers who disapprove of a speaker’s point of view. I would have a little more respect for the organisers if they had said that they don’t like the Canadians’ views.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.4

        So tell me how that makes me a ‘thug’.

        I find it unlikely either RFA or the judge had you personally in mind when referring to "legitimate security concerns." However, they did have the potential for violence arising from opposition to the event in mind, hence the term "thug's veto."

        • McFlock 1.1.4.1

          But the violence needn't have only come from the opposition to the event – it could also have come from the reaction to the opposition to the event, i.e. the intended audience getting violent at legitimate protest to the talks.

        • lprent 1.1.4.2

          Really. You need to look at the provisions of the BORA more often. Protests in public places are just as legitimate as assembling to listen to Canadian bigots. But the question of safety for all concerned including protesters is just as paramount both for the police and for the venues.

          Have you ever been to Bruce Mason Centre? It really isn't the place for a safe large protest outside. It isn't even really that safe for a small protest.

          And the BORA right to assemble and express is just as strong for protesters as it is for attendees. This isn't exactly hard to see try looking at protest footage some time. The police usually try to take a reasonable level of care to make sure that protests are safe for all concerned. They arrest people walking over the edge (and sometimes well before it), but they try to protect most of all.

          If you actually read the decision, the security of the protesters was probably as much in consideration by the RFA decision as any other factor.

          There are fuckall ‘thugs’ at any protest I have been around in Auckland. Offhand the only ones I have really seen were some of the protesters at the 1981 springbok tour.

          But on the other hand so were the police and the rugby thugs attacking peaceful protesters. I still carry the scars to prove it. In Auckland, there was a pretty strong attempt by the police after their fuckups in Auckland and the Queen Street ‘riot’ to never let it get to that place again. Thy just arrest people for daft reasons instead.

          • Psycho Milt 1.1.4.2.1

            Venue owners have a natural reluctance to host events that will attract protests and therefore the possibility of violence. "Thug's veto" refers to using the threat of such protests to de-platform speakers you don't like. No actual thuggery is necessarily involved. Dress it in whatever fancy clothes you like, that's what happened in this case.

            • McFlock 1.1.4.2.1.1

              So it's a "thugs veto" even when the protestors aren't the thugs?

              • Was there something about my comment that was difficult to understand? I thought it was clearly expressed.

                • McFlock

                  I'm unclear as to whether you think venues should cancel speakers whose audiences are likely to be violent thugs if someone happens to disagree with the speaker.

                  I normally read things like "thugs veto" to mean peaceful presentations are cancelled because of the thugs outside, not because the nature of the likely audience does themselves out of a gig.

                  • Same here. In this case, it's unlikely that the RFA were concerned that the well-heeled ACT fanciers who forked out money to hear Southern and Molyneux might go on a rampage at the venue. The concern that cancelled the event was about the protest, hence the term "thug's veto." A paying audience doesn't veto the performance they've paid to see.

                    • McFlock

                      Because well-heeled people don't get violent (even to their personal detriment) when faced with protests? What planet do you live on?

                      Not to mention the angry young men who flutter between white supremacism and incel culture.

                    • Unlikely != impossible. More to the point: absent a protest, security risk approximates to 0; given a protest, security risk makes cancelling the booking look attractive. Which means anyone who can arrange a protest can have a veto over speaker engagements due to the risk of violence, hence the term "thug's veto." If the term "thug" bothers you that much, the term "heckler's veto" is also available.

                    • McFlock

                      So we use the term "heckler" to recognise that the protestors are not necessarily the source of the violence. Seems a bit odd to say "heckler's veto" if the safety problem could well come from people taking offence to the hecklers, rather than the hecklers who take offence to the speakers.

                      Of course, another option is for the speakers' business model to not include being so objectionable that an outbreak of violence becomes a realistic safety hazard at a talkfest. Even Nats and ACT manage that.

      • William II 1.1.5

        So can anyone point me to anything that the Canadians have said that is white supremacist I have been looking and can't find any.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Good decision by Justice Jagose.

    Obviously the Canadian duo did not have the bottle or inclination to reach out to those interested in hearing them in other ways. There were numerous public spaces in Auckland, and other potential venues for hire. And the old standby–portable speaker on back of a utility vehicle!…but of course that would be harder to monetise…

    • Obtrectator 2.1

      Harder to monetise …. plus in some places (and there's getting to be more of them) you can be prevented from doing it at all. Because what's popularly believed to be public space is actually privately owned, and thus within the jurisdiction of the owners' private police force a.k.a. security guards. Some particularly egregious examples here https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jul/24/revealed-pseudo-public-space-pops-london-investigation-map – in the UK it's true, but what they do today tends to get done here tomorrow.

    • Where are our regular soapbox corners as in London's Hyde Park? Where someone can stand and spout and know how to handle hecklers. That surely is free speech and mostly free from violence, but probably not rudeness. You might put some koha down but I don't remember there was much emphasis on that.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakers%27_Corner

      Public riots broke out in the park in 1855, in protest over the Sunday Trading Bill, which forbade buying and selling on a Sunday, the only day working people had off. The riots were described by Karl Marx as the beginning of the English revolution.

      The Chartist movement used Hyde Park as a point of assembly for workers' protests, but no permanent speaking location was established. The Reform League organised a massive demonstration in 1866 and then again in 1867, which compelled the government to extend the franchise to include most working-class men.

      Our listing – New Zealand

      Speakers' Corner in Auckland

      There is a Speakers' Corner in Albert Park in Auckland at Princes Street, opposite to the University of Auckland.

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        There are some 1971 photos by Ans Westra of the Albert Park Speakers Corner Auckland. Use those keywords and you will see the 'full monty' of men's hair fashion then. Compare with the shaved skulls so often seen now.

  3. Sacha 3

    These frozen peach snowflakes want a society they do not even believe in to indemnify them against the personal consequences of their public speech. Fuck em.

    • Dukeofurl 3.1

      Remember when Farrar was praising the so called 'Thugs Veto'.

      Thats when Hone Harawira , a sitting MP, wasnt welcome at Auckland University Law School after the Blue Shirts University Young Nats announced their protest

      https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/05/the_right_to_protest.html

      • David C 3.1.1

        you have it arse about face.

        Farrar states that Hone was too chicken shit to turn up and the protestors were not even coming inside to scream at him as some of the heros (above) have said they would with the Cannucks.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Why bother screaming.

          The loud comments of 'complete bullshit', 'fatuous twaddle', and 'who is this idiot' is usually enough to disrupt.

  4. Pat 4

    Andrew Geddis has an excellent piece which lays bare the irony of the courts decision….and the neoliberal dogma that gave it birth.

    https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/like-saturn-thenbsprevolution-devoursnbspits-children

    • ianmac 4.2

      And good to see Andrew revisiting his original opinion and revising it in accordance with the reasons for the "cancellation." Pity some politicians fail to self-correct eh?

    • weka 4.3

      does that mean if the hiring of its venues was still in direct control of council, rather than a CCO, then BORA would have been relevant?

      • Pat 4.3.1

        that would be my understanding…though because it wasnt the courts didnt need to rule on that so we'll never know.

        • weka 4.3.1.1

          it does raise some interesting issues about our longstanding problem with trying to run public services using a business model.

          • Pat 4.3.1.1.1

            or a country even

            • Dukeofurl 4.3.1.1.1.1

              The difference seems to be RFA isnt required to 'consult with the public' on its hiring decisions. Im sure they would have to do so on the 'big ' decisions regarding venues

              • lprent

                They do on facilities expansion and changes in usage (along with their shareholder).

                But I guess every commercial organisation does that as well.

      • lprent 4.3.2

        Not really. However it might have been arguable. They may have gotten to looking at the question. Certainly in the case of the Bruce Mason Centre you'd have had to argue that the inevitable large protests would always have been a public danger. Same with the Powerstation where it was initially booked.

        If you look at my comment at 4.4.1 you can see a bright light as I realise why this daft legal approach was taken. Every litigant involved apart from some lawyers seems to have been from outside Auckland.

        Offhand I can't even think of any theatre style venues that are council operated. Some of the halls perhaps. But they're damn hard to book and kind of spare.

    • Dukeofurl 4.4

      Excellent piece ?

      Where he admits he got everything , including the law wrong. Its quite common for him to quaffle on various legal matters he has no competence in.

      "you did read my internet hot-take for free, and so you got what you paid for…"

      His further analysis that Regional Facilities Auckland, as set up by Hide and Co, is required to act 'commercially' and not as a public body, and is out of Politicians hands- QED its not reviewable by the Courts

      • lprent 4.4.1

        I'd be more charitable. I guess that it does seem pretty weird to out of Aucklanders. But I guess they don't live with it quite as check and jowl as we do.

        The strange thing for me is that I simply couldn't figure out why people were saying that it was a 'public space' when it so clearly was not. The controlling organisation was a city council owned organisation – not a council operated one..

        I have now figured out that from the Geddis piece was that many thought that to be council owned was council controlled. Moreover that most of those with that misapprehension are out of Auckland – including now I look at it – most of the litigants. duh!

        You can see from my post that I hadn't even considered that others wouldn't understand that.

        In Auckland, most of the facilities that the RFA operates were originally paid for using rates or council debt. But since 2010 they are operated from a separate organisation from the council and the council has virtually no control on their operation. Which is why there is no public duty.

        This applies to almost every space in Auckland except for some council directly operated parks and recreation centres. Some of the halls like the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall are operated by the council. However they are heavily used and booking them is usually done well in advance. They also aren't exactly set up as anything except community halls.

        Similarly the other stadiums and venues like Eden Park, Vector Arena, Powerstation, and other smaller venues from churches to gyms are privately owned and have no public duty. The school halls are the same and usually pretty spare as well.

        Which was why I didn't think that this court action had any chance. There are few venues that are set up for the relatively small crowds as lecture theatres and offhand I'm failing to recall any other them that are council operated.

        The Bruce Mason Centre where the talk was scheduled is on a small yet widely used street around which means that even smallish protests will spill on to the street. It simply isn't a good place to have large protests. That is the Aotea square – also RFA owned and operated – but designed for public speaking.

    • McFlock 4.5

      lol now that's some poetical context

  5. Paul Campbell 5

    And a reminder to those in Dunedin, please rank Mr Spittle lowest or not at all on your ballots this month

  6. formerly ross 6

    Meanwhile a controversial blogger, incidentally from Canada, has been invited to speak at Massey University. The university has carried out a risk assessment and has a safety plan in place.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/education/116144130/banned-from-twitter-but-welcome-at-massey-radical-feminist-group-to-host-event

    • JohnP 6.1

      The organisers claim there will be no hate speech or violent speech at the event.

      But then again, they advertise the event by claiming the speakers are De-Platformed and Banned (from Twitter, for breaching their terms of service), Censored (although there's no evidence that speaker has been censored) and Harassed (which I assume is because they're the spokesperson for a lobby group who have focused their campaigns entirely against trans women).

      Seems very similar to the alt-right playbook around Milo Yiannopolous, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneaux – claim you're being censored and then charge $40 a head for people to come and hear you speak.

      • weka 6.1.1

        Have you listened to any of the previous SUFW meetings? Or read the speakers?

        SUFW (the organisers) and Holly Lawford-Smith haven't 'focused their campaigns entirely against trans women', that's a gross misrepresentation of what they say and do. I don't think Megan Murhpy has either, although she's more in your face in her politics (I don't know Melissa Derby's work). They are concerned about the impact on women's rights from changes to legislation supportive of trans people. The extent to which they may or may not be casually or seriously transphobic might be up for discussion, but it's not the focus of their work.

        This becomes apparent when one looks at the work of UK politicians and academic philosophers on women's rights in relation to trans rights. Most of the people I follow are sympathetic to the rights of trans people.

        SUFW are largely left wing women. This is true of their counterparts in the UK (I'm less clear about Canada). The comparison with the alt-right is specious. The politics and social dynamics are very different. The cost of the SUFW event is $25 – $40, to cover the costs of 4 speakers, two of whom are from overseas. The tickets to Molyneux/Southern were $99, or $749 for the dinner.

        I think the way the SUFW event is being promo-ed is a mistake, but it's still a pretty superficial comparison. Watching women being deplatformed, banned and harrassed is gross and alarming, especially coming from the left and/or liberals. The most alarming thing about the new gender wars is the extent to which many women are being stopped from talking about how this affects them. That is serious shit when we consider various governments are in the process of writing laws that impact on women.

        It's hard enough being on TS as a feminist as it is. I'd appreciate it if more care was taken in talking about this issue. This also applies to discussing trans politics.

    • The university management must be livid. Can't use the H&S excuse they used to cancel Brash's speech because the organisers have done a proper risk assessment and security plan, and can't even complain about the event because it's run by feminists. Awesome work by Speak Up For Women.

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        It will be awesome if the feminists can speak up for poor mothers and women beneficiaries. They can't always find the energy to speak up for themselves and get the feeling often that no-one cares and if people do, it shows as hostility. Having sisters address their situation squarely would be such a boost.

  7. I thought I had put up some comments here relevant to free speech and what has been done over the years, in having a space for it, – and they have gone……

    I have put up one that had a photo on it of the Speakers Corner in Albert Park and refers to the Hyde Park one in London. I referred to some of the outrageous subjects addressed in London in earlier days – reform, the Chartists etc. Perhaps the photo was a mistake, they are so heavy with code. I won't bother to do that next time as I probably should be using another form.

    But here's one of the pieces – just a bit of social history.

    There are some 1971 photos by Ans Westra of the Albert Park Speakers Corner Auckland. Use those keywords and you will see the 'full monty' of men's hair fashion then. Compare with the shaved skulls so often seen now.

    [lprent: The photo at 2.2?

    Images have a mandatory moderation – so it depends when a mod releases them. One did that for you earlier today.

    Obvious in a way. The places we allow video or facebook or twitter in from are relatively constrained. But images could be from anywhere. ]

    • Stuart Munro. 7.1

      Good point – it's a handy litmus test of whether free speech is really the issue.

  8. DS 8

    I think people are missing the forest for the trees here.

    The court's ruling is that council-owned (but not operated) venues have no wider public obligations. Which basically means… they've been privatised in all but name. That is not a happy development.

    • Pat 8.1

      Not missed at all…highlighted by Andrew Geddis' piece…but then privatisation of public assets isnt really news to anyone but maybe some of the legal nuance is

  9. soddenleaf 9

    So if your so successful in your speeches, that your banned from risky venues due to the crowds, then you can argue loudly your freedom of speach is being curtailed. Sad their audiences don't have the money… …oh they do. Oh, I get it, free publicity, self victimization, legal fees, all to get yet more rage going. Rage sells. Well until it's just rage for its own sake, they have nothing actually to say, white people's are global the majority and the wealthiest, deadliest armies too. It was never a risk, whites under a track, it's all snake oil. Wow, two canadians found a living being dicks.

  10. Jane B 10

    Let's look at free speech and some of their fiercest advocates.

    Recently, a petition was submitted to Massey University to cancel a booked venue by the so-called "Stand up for women" group. Most of us are aware that this is a fringe group of faux feminists and other assorted moral conservatives who are fixated on transgender men and women (always trans women, actually)

    The petition has over 6000 names last time I looked. Massey University cancelled the booking. Note: the booking was cancelled. SUFW can hold their event elsewhere.

    Martyn Bradbury on the Daily Blog has been a staunch advocate for SUFW. He recently published three blogposts on the issue, including a scurrilous pierce by transphobic journalist Rachel Stewart that was declined by her former employer (she resigned in a huff when they rightly rejected her story). Fair enough. Bradbury can publish whatever he likes, I guess, it's his forum. Plus he's such a staunch advocate of free speech./

    Right?

    Not quite.

    Yesterday I left six comments critical of SUFW and challenging Martyn's dogma that its "up to women to decide who can enter our spaces".

    I provided a link & quotes from a recent article by a lesbian group, supporting our trans women sisters. I asked Martyn to explain how he can follow the lead of SUFW and thinking they represent us when this article (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/116716803/listen-to-the-feminists-doing-the-real-work-not-the-distractions ) disputes that.

    Martyn published 3 of my less critical comments. The other 3 have not appeared, I assume they've been deleted.

    So there we have it. Free speech is fine unless it embarrasses a free speech advocate. What a surprize.

    I'm reprinting a comment I've left this morning on the Daily Blog. It probably won't be published.

    Not that we're silencing women, eh, Bradbury?

    ==========

    "too spineless for free speech"

    Really Martyn?

    I left 6 comments on this issue on three of these related blogposts. You published 3. What happened to the others?

    I quoted a recent mediastory "Listen to the feminists doing the real work, not the distractions" https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/116716803/listen-to-the-feminists-doing-the-real-work-not-the-distractions where a lesbian women's group condemned the so-called SUFW minority engaging in transphobic hate speech.

    The lesbian group was unequivocal: "Speak Up for Women claim to speak on behalf of women, feminists, and frequently, lesbians.

    They haven't asked us what we think about the things they say on our account. They've even blocked a number of us from talking to them at all, showing an astonishingly low tolerance for women who don't immediately fall in line with their ideology and who dare to demonstrate independent thought."

    The group also stated; "Speak Up for Women, their supporters, and the speakers they've invited to present at their Feminism 2020 event can all spin a good conspiracy theory and many will happily tell you about the well-funded trans lobby (somehow linked with Big Pharma and George Soros), which has plans to steal everyone's womanhood before Christmas."

    You didn't publish those comments I made, with the quotes, and asking you to reconcile with your assertion that its up to women to decide these issues.

    So much for free speech.

    [In the interests of not so much free speech but robust debate (the kaupapa of this blog), I was going to post a link to Jenny Whyte’s dissection of the Stuff article and the ways it misleads readers about Speak Up For Women. Unfortunately Whyte’s piece was on Medium and has been suspended, almost certainly from complaints to Medium by activists that it was anti-trans (which is a now routine part of the gender wars on social media that includes taking out dissenting opinion). We can’t judge that for ourselves, because it’s gone, nor can we inform ourselves of what the issues are.

    This is the state of ‘free speech’ in NZ and internationally within gender discourse online. People feel free to provide highly biased opinions (such as the comment here) and then take down those that disagree with them. So I’m a bit dark at having to write a mod comment on someone complaining about not having free speech on another blog while taking part in activism that seeks to suppress dissent, information sharing, and political analysis. If it’s valid for SUFW to not be allowed to hire a Massey venue, why would it be valid to expect blog owners to publish every comment made irrespective of its value?

    I’m not surprised that TDB didn’t publish your comments, because they’re inflammatory and extremely misleading. Hopefully this will sink to the bottom of TS’ comment list without much response, although I will link to Whyte’s piece if/when it reappears. TS’ Policy page is unavailable currently, but this is probably the most relevant bit,


    What we’re not prepared to accept are pointless personal attacks, or tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. We are intolerant of people starting or continuing flamewars where there is little discussion or debate. This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so. Such comments may be deleted without warning or one of the alternatives below may be employed. The action taken is completely up to the moderator who takes it.

    As I said above, it’s hard enough being on TS as a feminist as it is. I don’t consider TS to be a particular safe place for women to discuss their politics, likewise for others including trans people. I’d appreciate it if more care was taken in talking about this issue all round – weka]

  11. Priss 11

    " I’m not surprised that TDB didn’t publish your comments, because they’re inflammatory and extremely misleading. "

    I don't think so. Jane is young, passionate in her beliefs. Dismissing her comments as "inflammatory and extremely misleading" (which parts?) is a none-too-subtle way of silencing women's voices.

    Didn't think it would happen here on The Standard?

    Anyway, thought I'd let you know that as well as Jane and others, I've also had comments censored (ie, not published) recently on the Rachel Stewart/Feminism2020 issue. The common thread? We disagreed with Bradbury!

    That would be fine, except that Bradbury holds himself up as a paragon for free speech.Not seeing much of that on his blogsite.

    Do with this as you will.

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  • Apartments give new life to former Trade Training hostel
    A building that once shaped the Māori trade training industry will now revitalise the local community of Ōtautahi and provide much needed housing for whānau Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. The old Māori Trade Training hostel, Te Koti Te Rato, at Rehua Marae in Christchurch has been ...
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    17 hours ago
  • Major step to pay parity for early learning teachers
    Certificated teachers on the lowest pay in early education and care services will take another leap towards pay parity with their equivalents in kindergartens, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in a pre-Budget announcement today. “Pay parity for education and care teachers is a manifesto commitment for Labour and is reflected ...
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    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand Wind Energy Conference
    Tēnā koutou katoa Tēnā koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te Rā No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa  Thank you Grenville for the introduction and thanks to the organisers, the New Zealand Wind Energy Association, for inviting me to speak this morning. I’m delighted that you ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Speech to New Zealand Drug Foundation 2021 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium
    Speech to Through the Maze: On the road to health New Zealand Drug Foundation 2021 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium Mōrena koutou katoa, Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou, Kua tae mai nei me ngā kete matauranga hauora, E whai hononga ai tatau katoa, Ka nui te mihi! Thank you for the opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Govt to deliver lower card fees to business
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has today announced the Government’s next steps to reduce merchant service fees, that banks charge businesses when customers use a credit or debit card to pay, which is estimated to save New Zealand businesses approximately $74 million each year. “Pre COVID, EFTPOS has ...
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    21 hours ago
  • Government support boosts Arts and Culture sector
    Government support for the cultural sector to help it recover from the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in more cultural sector jobs predicted through to 2026, and the sector performing better than forecast. The latest forecast by economic consultancy ‘Infometrics’ reflects the impact of Government investment in keeping people in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt takes further action against gang crime
    The Government will make it illegal for high risk people to own firearms by introducing Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) that will strengthen action already taken to combat the influence of gangs and organised crime to help keep New Zealanders and their families safe, Police Minister Poto Williams and Justice Minister ...
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    2 days ago
  • Thousands of MIQ spaces allocated to secure economic recovery
    Five hundred spaces per fortnight will be allocated in managed isolation facilities over the next 10 months, many for skilled and critical workers to support our economic recovery, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor say. “The Trans-Tasman bubble has freed up more rooms, allowing us to ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Sign Language Week a chance to recognise national taonga
    This week (10 – 16 May 2021) is New Zealand Sign Language Week (NZSL), a nationwide celebration of NZSL as an official language of New Zealand. “We’re recognised as a world leader for our commitment to maintaining and furthering the use of our sign language,” says Minister for Disability Issues ...
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    3 days ago
  • Economic resilience provides more options in Budget 2021
    Securing the recovery and investing in the wellbeing of New Zealanders is the focus of Budget 2021, Grant Robertson told his audience at a pre-budget speech in Auckland this morning. "The economy has proven resilient in response to COVID-19, due to people having confidence in the Government’s health response to ...
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    3 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to BNZ-Deloitte Auckland Breakfast Event
    Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today, and to share with you some of the Government’s thinking leading into this year’s budget. This will be my fourth time delivering the annual Budget for the Government, though the events of the past year have thrown out that calculation. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Rotuman Language week affirms language as the key to Pacific wellbeing
    The first Pacific Language Week this year  makes it clear that  language is the key to the wellbeing for all Pacific people said Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. “This round of language  weeks begin with Rotuman. As I have always  said language is one of the pillars of ...
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    4 days ago
  • Budget delivers improved cervical and breast cancer screening
    Budget 2021 funds a more effective cervical screening test to help reduce cervical cancer rates A new breast screening system that can proactively identify and enrol eligible women to reach 271,000 more people who aren’t currently in the programme. Budget 2021 delivers a better cervical screening test and a major ...
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    4 days ago
  • NZ-France to co-chair Christchurch Call Leaders’ Summit
    New Zealand and France will jointly convene the Christchurch Call Community for a leaders’ summit, to take stock of progress and develop a new shared priority work plan. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President Emmanuel Macron will co-chair the leaders’ meeting on the 2nd anniversary of the Call, on 14 ...
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    4 days ago
  • New South Wales travel pause to be lifted tomorrow
    COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the current travel pause with New South Wales will lift tomorrow – subject to no further significant developments in NSW. “New Zealand health officials met today to conduct a further assessment of the public health risk from the recently identified COVID-19 community cases in Sydney. It has been determined that the risk to public ...
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    5 days ago
  • March 15 Collective Impact Board appointed
    The voices of those affected by the March 15 mosque attacks will be heard more effectively with the establishment of a new collective impact board, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced today. Seven members of the Christchurch Muslim community have been appointed to the newly established Board, ...
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    5 days ago
  • More young Kiwis supported with mental health and addiction services
    Nearly quarter of a million more young New Zealanders will have access to mental health and addiction support in their communities as the Government’s youth mental health programme gathers pace. New contracts to expand youth-specific services across the Northland, Waitematā and Auckland District Health Board areas have been confirmed, providing ...
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    6 days ago
  • New hospital facilities mean fewer trips to Auckland for Northlanders
    Northlanders will no longer automatically have to go to Auckland for lifesaving heart procedures like angiograms, angioplasty and the insertion of pacemakers, thanks to new operating theatres and a cardiac catheter laboratory opened at Whangārei Hospital by Health Minister Andrew Little today. The two projects – along with a new ...
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    6 days ago
  • Fair Pay Agreements to improve pay and conditions for essential workers
    The Government is delivering on its pre-election commitment to implement Fair Pay Agreements which will improve wages and conditions, as well as help support our economic recovery, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards for all employees and employers in an ...
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    6 days ago
  • Establishment of the new Māori Health Authority takes first big step
    Sir Mason Durie will lead a Steering Group to provide advice to the Transition Unit on governance arrangements and initial appointments to an interim board to oversee the establishment of the Māori Health Authority. This Group will ensure that Māori shape a vital element of our future health system, Minister ...
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    6 days ago
  • Cycle trails move up a gear in Central
    Work on new and upgraded cycle trails in Queenstown, Arrowtown and Central Otago is moving up a gear as two significant projects pass further milestones today. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced new funding for the Queenstown Trails Project, and will also formally open the Lake Dunstan Trail at Bannockburn ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government gives households extra help to reduce their power bills
    Nine community energy education initiatives to help struggling New Zealanders with their power bills are being given government funding through the new Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme.   “Last year we committed nearly $8 million over four years to establish the SEEC Programme. This funding will help ...
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    6 days ago
  • Picton ferry terminal upgrade consent fast-tracked
    The planned upgrade of the Waitohi Picton Ferry terminal has been approved under the fast-track consenting process.  Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the decision by the expert consenting panel to approve the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment Project.    The project will provide a significant upgrade to the ferry facilities ...
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    7 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with New South Wales paused
    COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced his intention to pause Quarantine Free Travel from New South Wales to New Zealand while the source of infection of the two cases announced in Sydney in the last two days is investigated.  Whole genome sequencing has linked the case yesterday to a recent ...
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    7 days ago
  • Covid-19 immigration powers to be extended
    The passing of a bill to extend temporary COVID-19 immigration powers means continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. “Over the past year, we’ve made rapid decisions to extend visas, vary visa conditions and waive some application requirements ...
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    7 days ago
  • “Supporting a Trade-Led Economic Recovery”
    Trade Policy Road Show SpeechManukau, Auckland   Kia ora koutou – nau mai, haere mai ki Manukau, ki Tāmaki.   Good morning everyone, and thank you for this opportunity to discuss with you current global challenges, opportunities and the Government’s strategy in support of a trade-led recovery from the economic ...
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    7 days ago
  • Building consent numbers at an all-time high
    A record 41,028 new homes have been consented in the year ended March 2021 March 2021 consent numbers the highest since the 1940s Record number of new homes consented in Auckland The number of new homes consented is at an all-time high, showing a strong and increasing pipeline of demand ...
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    7 days ago
  • Whānau-centred support for parents and tamariki
    Up to 60 whānau in Counties Manukau will be supported through the first three years of their parenthood by a new whānau-centred model of care, said Associate Health Minister, Hon Aupito William Sio. “Providing this support to young parents is something we have to get right. It’s a priority both ...
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    7 days ago
  • NZ backs moves to improve global access to COVID vaccines
    New Zealand welcomes and strongly supports the announcement made by the United States Trade Representative to work for a waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said. “New Zealand supports equitable access to COVID vaccines for all. No one is safe from the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Tourism communities: support, recovery and re-set plan
    TIHEI MAURI ORA Tuia te whakapono Tuia te tumanako Tuia te aroha Tuia te hunga ora Ki te hunga ora Tihei Mauri ora Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Thank you, Hilary and thank you, Chris, and everyone at TIA for this ...
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    7 days ago
  • Support, recovery and re-set plan for tourism communities
    Five South Island tourist communities targeted for specialist support Pressure on Māori tourism operators and Conservation facilities recognised Domestic and international-facing tourism agencies put on more secure footing Long-term plan to re-set tourism with a focus on sustainability, industry standards and regional economic diversification A plan to ensure the immediate ...
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    7 days ago
  • Speech on NZ Rail Plan
    Check against delivery E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua o Taranaki Whānui anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te whakanuia tēnei huihuinga whakahirahira. Nō ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government hits massive milestone in Violence Prevention & Elimination
    Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson announced a major milestone at a hui in South Auckland today, with the launch of the national engagement process on the prevention and elimination of family and sexual violence. “There is no room for violence in our lives – there is no ...
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    7 days ago
  • Fee waiver extended for conservation tourism businesses
    Tourism businesses operating on public conservation land will have another six months of fees waived to help them adjust to the downturn in international visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced. "We acknowledge it has been a difficult year for ...
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    7 days ago
  • ‘Lua Wave’ to future-proof Pasifika Festivals in Aotearoa
    Pasifika festival organisers will receive additional support to adapt to the COVID-19 environment thanks to the Government’s newly launched ‘Lua Wave’ component of the Pasifika Festivals Initiative, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “This initiative has not only been to support festival organisers to recover from ...
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    7 days ago
  • Crown accounts show confidence in Govt economic plan
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect the resilience of the economy and confidence in the Government’s economic recovery plan. The Crown accounts for the nine months to the end of March 2021 show both OBEGAL and the operating balance remain better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and ...
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    7 days ago
  • Energy Trusts of NZ Autumn Conference
    It’s a pleasure to be here today. Thank you Karen [Sherry] for the introduction and thanks to the Energy Trusts Executive for inviting me to speak at tonight’s event. It is an exciting time to come to speak to trustees of distribution companies. For many decades the electricity industry was ...
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    7 days ago
  • New partnership to grow Māori success in STEM
    A new partnership with the Pūhoro STEM Academy will support thousands more rangatahi Māori to participate and succeed in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Since 2016, Pūhoro has worked with Māori students to build their capability and create pathways to employment ...
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    7 days ago
  • Rail builds platform for economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dr David Clark today released the Government’s long term vision for a sustainable rail network that supports our economic recovery. New Zealand Rail Plan lays out how the Government is building a resilient, reliable and safe network, as well as the indicative ...
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    7 days ago
  • NZ and UK agree to lift the pace of free trade talks
    New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed to rapidly lift the tempo of talks, as the two countries enter a new phase in free trade negotiations, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, and I spoke today about ...
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    1 week ago