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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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  • PM comments on Auckland COVID-19 case
    After 102 days we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility in New Zealand. Shortly I will ask Dr Bloomfield to set out the details of the case. While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Significant investment in Raukūmara Pae Maunga to prevent Raukūmara forest collapse
    An iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island and boost employment opportunities for whānau, particularly rangatahi/young people, will receive $34 million funding, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced. “Raukūmara Pae Maunga is a partnership with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • New partnership central to delivering more Māori housing
    Government agencies and partners are working closer together to provide more Māori Housing through the Te MAIHI o te Whare Māori – the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI). MAIHI is a kaupapa Māori approach that drives a system change to give effect and impact on Māori ...
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    14 hours ago
  • Manawatū Gorge replacement highway drives forward
    Site work is soon to begin on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, the project to replace the former SH3 route through the Manawatū Gorge, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Phil Twyford was today in Woodville at the signing of a formal agreement by members of the Alliance ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Pacific Ministers meet to discuss regional economic priorities
    The Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) begins today and will focus on the major economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific.  FEMM is an important congregation of Economic Ministers and senior officials from around the region, and for the first time, the annual meeting will be ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Formal apology and payment to George Nepata
    Cabinet has approved a formal apology and ex gratia payment to former soldier George Nepata, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. This payment is to recognise the New Zealand Defence Force’s failure to provide Mr Nepata with a safe system of work in April 1989 when, as a result of an ...
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    19 hours ago
  • Report into Iain Lees-Galloway’s expenditure
    A report undertaken by Ministerial Services into Iain Lees-Galloway’s ministerial expenditure has found no evidence of any inappropriate transactions or spending. Ministerial Services undertook a line by line review of all his expenditure, including staff and spouse expenses for the period 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.  “I commissioned ...
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    1 day ago
  • Managed isolation charges to start 11 August
    Managed isolation charges for returnees will come into force from 12.01am Tuesday 11th August, after they passed their last cabinet milestone today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. “The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine ...
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    1 day ago
  • Update on New Zealand and the Cook Islands travel bubble
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. Negotiations on the text of an ‘Arrangement to Facilitate Quarantine-Free Travel ...
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    1 day ago
  • One-stop ‘jobs and training’ shop goes live
    The Government has launched a new online, phone and onsite service to help New Zealanders connect to a range of employment support and products for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, announced Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. Connected.govt.nz is a one-stop-shop for jobseekers, ...
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    2 days ago
  • MSD security guards to be paid Living Wage
    Security guards contracted to the Ministry of Social Development will be paid at least the Living Wage from next month supporting the Government’s commitment towards fair pay and employment conditions, announced Minister for  Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.   “MSD was  among the first government agencies to pay its employees the living ...
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    2 days ago
  • New strategy to ensure nature thrives
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today launched Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy - a way forward that envisions Aotearoa New Zealand as a place where ecosystems are healthy and resilient, and people embrace the natural world. “Many of New Zealand’s plants and wildlife species ...
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    2 days ago
  • Provider Languages Fund will support Pacific Wellbeing approach
    “Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, wellbeing and lifetime success of our Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa. The strength and resilience of Pacific Aotearoa is not only vital to their own prosperity but integral to the prosperity of all New Zealanders, and is particularly ...
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    2 days ago
  • COVID-19: More funding for schools and boost to construction sector
    ·       $38 million to help schools cover unexpected costs related to COVID-19 ·       $69 million upgrade for online learning ·       $107 million contingency funding to support school construction suppliers facing additional costs due to the lockdown. The Government is releasing $214 million from the COVID-19 response and recovery fund to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Stay safe on the tracks – Rail Safety Week
    Despite the Government installing safety upgrades around the country, people should still take care around rail crossings, said Transport Minister Phil Twyford launching Rail Safety Week. Phil Twyford said installing safety infrastructure is crucial, but we are encouraging people to be more careful around trains too. “We’re making good progress ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government backs Manawatū social housing project
    The Government is providing a cash injection to help Palmerston North City Council complete a programme to provide 78 social housing units for vulnerable tenants. The $4.7 million to build 28 units in the Papaioea Place redevelopment comes from the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Government’s COVID-19 ...
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    2 days ago
  • Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula
    A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announced Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in Canterbury today. “This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep ...
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    3 days ago
  • Major investment for indoor sports in Hawke’s Bay
    A Government grant of $6.4 million will expand the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale with new indoor courts of national standard. “The project is likely to take 18 months with approximately 300 people employed through the process,” Grant Robertson said. “The expansion will increase the indoor court space up to 11 ...
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    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure for Far North tourist town
    The Far North tourist destination of Mangonui is to receive Government funding to improve waterfront infrastructure, open up access to the harbour and improve water quality, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. A total of $6.5 million from the $3 billion set aside in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup
    The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at ...
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    4 days ago
  • Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment
    Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. “The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth ...
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    4 days ago
  • Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch
    Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
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    4 days ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
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    4 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
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    5 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
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    5 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
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    5 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
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    5 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
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    5 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
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    5 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
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    5 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
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    6 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
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    6 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
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    6 days ago