Rodney Hide gave a superb speech in support of repealing the sedition laws, and turns his guns on the Electoral Finance Bill:
But I want Mr Keith Locke to reflect on this. He said that it is important that in a free society, in a democratic society, even people who want to advocate hateful ideas, like bin Ladenism, should be entitled to do so. I agree with him.
So we can have a situation now where we are standing up and saying “Yes, it’s OK to advocate fascism, yes it’s OK to advocate bin Ladenism, but the Exclusive Brethren who attacked the Greens broke [no] law, so we’re going to change the law so they can’t do it.”
So what is special about election year? Suddenly in election year we are going to pass a law. We will not be seditious; we will just be in breach of our electoral laws. Where is the sense in that? We are passing a law here tonight, quite rightly, so that we can advocate what was commonly called sedition, but we are also contemplating passing a law that says we cannot put out a pamphlet saying we do not like the Government, we do not like the National Party, we do not like the Maori Party, or we do not like the ACT party. It does not even have to be untrue; it just becomes unlawful.
So have we not got this a bit skew-whiff? Because would not one be saying Stalinism and Fascism killed millions of people? I do not think the Exclusive Brethren could hurt a flea, actually. I do not think what they were advocating was dangerous. It was just their political views. It might be wacky. It might not be what one agrees with.
But surely in this House, if we can stand up here like Mr Locke says and say: “It’s OK to advocate Fascism, it’s OK to advocate Stalinism, and it’s OK to advocate bin Ladenism”, then surely it is OK to criticise the Greens. Surely it is OK to criticise Helen Clark. Surely it is OK to criticise the National Party and the ACT party, and surely in one’s criticism it must be OK to run off a few pamphlets and put them in a grateful nation’s letterbox so they can say “absolutely”.
Now they are scared of the people. They are scared of allowing New Zealanders to advocate their ideas and to spend what little money they have after the tax man has been and Michael Cullen has spent it, and to print a pamphlet and stick it in a neighbour’s letterbox.
Well said Rodney.