The Free Speech Coalition has announced:
A crowd funding campaign has been launched to raise money to bring judicial review proceedings against Phil Goff and Auckland Council for their banning of speakers Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern at Council-owned venues.
A ‘Free Speech Coalition’ will collect funds for the legal action, and return them if the fundraising target is not met. The Coalition has been advised that the cost of engaging lawyers and proceeding with urgent legal action will be approximately $50,000.
New Zealanders who value free speech can pledge money to this cause at www.freespeechcoalition.nz.
With a few emails over the weekend, a dozen donors have already pledged nearly $5,000. This positive response has given the Coalition the confidence to open the campaign to the general public.
A supporter of the Coalition, Melissa Derby, says, “Standing up for free speech means standing up for speech you and I may personally find repugnant. We do not endorse these particular speakers’ views, but the general principle that people should be able to share, and be exposed to, controversial ideas.”
“Banning a pair of populists that together have over a million Youtube subscribers sets an extraordinary low bar for state censorship.””
“Council facilities, paid for by the general public, should operate as common carriers for people of all political views. They should not discriminate based on the personal views of politicians, nor should their use be subject to the whims of those who would threaten violent protest.”
Chris Trotter, who is also supporting the effort, says, “We accept the case for blocking genuine hate speech, such as incitements of violence or other illegal activity. But curbing free debate under threat of disruption is neither desirable nor acceptable in a free and democratic society. Truth is not afraid of trigger-words. Truth does not need a safe space. Truth is not a snowflake. Truth can take the heat and most certainly should not be forced to vacate the kitchen in the face of a couple of Alt-Right populists and a politically-correct Mayor.”
Donations can be made at www.freespeechcoalition.nz, or to the following bank account:
Free Speech Coalition
No Right Turn also blogs:
Auckland Council apparently acted on this and cancelled their booking, ostensibly for health and safety reasons. Which is about as credible as Donald Trump saying his anti-Muslim ban wasn’t about religion. When the mayor of a city says they’ve given a direction, and what they want happens, I think we’re entitled to take their word for it.
The problem, of course, is that this is all illegal. Auckland Council is a body performing a public function and so subject to the Bill of Rights Act. Which affirms, among other things, both the right to freedom of expression, and the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of political opinion. The Auckland Council’s actions are a prima facie violation of those rights and invite judicial review. And given Goff’s tweet, the outcome of such a review is likely to be ratepayer’s money spent on compensating Nazis for the breach of those rights, as well as an order that the council provide them with a venue (if they want one) on the same terms as any other customer.
Goff won’t care. Like police officers who beat suspects, he will face no personal consequences for violating these rights, and there’s no political downside for him because he’s picking on someone everyone hates. But we should care. Because if we let the mayor of Auckland decide what speech is acceptable in public facilities, then a future mayor may decide that they don’t like speech that we approve of.