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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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  • Building back better
    It’s a three-week recess in Parliament – so, no bills are going through the House and no select committees are meeting. But the hard work of our ministers continues, and many of our MPs are back in their electorates, taking the opportunity to meet with local communities and businesses about ...
    1 day ago
  • Greens call for a Warrant of Fitness for rental homes
    The Green Party is launching a petition today calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes. ...
    4 days ago
  • Securing our recovery: By the numbers
    Our plan to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 is working, with the past three months seeing the second-highest number of people moved off a main benefit into work since records began. ...
    1 week ago
  • More Kiwis in work through recovery plan
    The latest statistics show the Government’s focus on jobs is working. The net number of people on a main benefit dropped by around 11,190 people during the past three months, with around 31,240 people moving off a benefit into work. ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party appoints new Chief of Staff
    The Green Party has appointed a new Parliamentary Chief of Staff, Robin Campbell. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’re turning 105!
    It’s our birthday! Today, 105 years ago, the New Zealand Labour Party was founded. And we haven’t stopped moving since: fighting for workers’ rights, expanding protections to boost equality, and upholding democratic socialist ideals. We’re now the oldest political party in New Zealand and, as we celebrate our 105 years, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Principles for guiding the Emissions Reduction Plan Speech
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
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    2 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
    The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said. “It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for Pacific regional business
    Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern call with President Biden
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with US President Biden this morning, ahead of the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat on COVID-19. “President Biden and I discussed the forthcoming APEC leaders meeting and the critical importance of working together as a region to navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Renewed partnership creates jobs for New Zealand youth
    The Government has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, strengthening the partnership to get more young people into work.  The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is a nationwide network of all Mayors in New Zealand, who are committed to making sure all young ...
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    1 week ago
  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
    Five South Island areas are prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
    A new code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary and international students will be in place from January next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today The code, which makes clear that creating an environment that supports learning and wellbeing is a shared responsibility between tertiary providers, ...
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    1 week ago
  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
    The members of the first TAB NZ Board come with experience in racing and sport administration, business and governance, the betting industry, broadcasting and gambling harm minimisation. “This Board will progress from the excellent work done by the interim board, put in place in August 2020,” Grant Robertson said. “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
    The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau. A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended Essential Skills visas being rolled out
    Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders The Government is increasing the duration of some Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders while ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand will be paused from 1.59am (NZT) Friday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. The decision follows updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest. The pause will run for at least ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen agreement signed with Singapore
    The signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore signals the start of greater collaboration between the two countries as they transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods. The cooperation agreement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen arrangement signed with Singapore
    The signing of an Arrangement of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore heralds the start of greater collaboration between it and New Zealand as both countries transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. The cooperation arrangement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
    Kia ora koutou katoa and thank-you for the invitation to speak to you all today. I would like to acknowledge Local Government New Zealand President Stuart Crosby, and Chief Executive, Susan Freeman-Greene, Te Maruata Chair, Bonita Bigham, and our host, Mayor John Leggett. I also acknowledge all the elected members ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to provide support for water reforms, jobs and growth
    The Government today announced a $2.5 billion package to support local government transition through the reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. The package will also stimulate local economies while creating jobs and unlocking infrastructure for housing. “New Zealand’s water systems are facing a significant crisis and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government Initiatives Contribute to Fall in Benefit Numbers
    Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit. “This Government’s plan to increase work focused support for Jobseekers is paying off,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “All up Benefit numbers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tourism support package continues rollout
    Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities most affected by the absence of international tourists. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash today announced details of how tourism operators and communities can access the help announced in May as part of the government’s $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ-PNG Sign Statement of Partnership
    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape signed the first ever New Zealand - Papua New Guinea Statement of Partnership today. “This new Statement of Partnership reflects the importance we place on the close economic, cultural and people-to-people links our two countries have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further advice being sought on new cases in Victoria
    Further advice is being sought from public health officials following seven new positive cases of COVID-19 in Victoria today, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “There are also a growing number of locations of interest that are of concern, including a sports stadium on Saturday and several pubs,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Learning Community Hubs supporting ethnic families
    As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to working with the victims and those affected by the March 15 terror attacks, today Associate Minister of Education Hon Jan Tinetti released the report ‘Voices from the Ōtautahi’ on the Christchurch Learning Community Hubs. “It’s so important we continue to support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hundreds more hands funded to work for nature
    Supporting biodiversity protection through community-led projects and on private property will create at least 500 more jobs under the Mahi mō te Taiao/Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The work we are funding includes everything from pest control and restoration planting to plant propagation, skill ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Saliva testing expansion for frontline border workers
    All frontline border workers who are required to be regularly tested for COVID-19 will soon be able to choose regular saliva testing as a full replacement for nasopharyngeal testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. Saliva testing will be expanded as an option for all those on a regular ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government consults on freshwater farm plan
    The Government is inviting farmers and growers to provide their practical ideas to help develop high-quality and workable freshwater farm plans, in line with its freshwater goals said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Environment Minister David Parker. The ministers today released the consultation documents for freshwater farm plans and stock exclusion low slope maps. Comment is being sought on a new, more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Increased support for midwives
    New measures to help bolster the midwifery workforce as they care for the next generation of New Zealanders, have been announced today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “New Zealand’s midwives are committed to the wellbeing of women and whānau, but they’re facing significant challenges. The DHB midwifery ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister's Speech to NZIIA Annual Conference
    Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, ata mārie, tēnā koutou katoa. It’s a great pleasure to attend an event on such an important topic as New Zealand’s future in the Indo-Pacific region. Thank you to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs for bringing this hui together. I am encouraged to ...
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    1 week ago