Phil Goff the new commissar of speech

The Herald reports:

The promoter of a controversial Canadian pair accused of hate speech has cancelled their tour of New Zealand after Auckland Mayor denied them access to city venues. …

But promoter David Pellowe said the tour was instead cancelled when Goff moved to bar the pair access to Auckland Council venues.

He told Newstalk ZB there were no other venues available at this late stage and that all tickets would have to be refunded.

Goff minutes earlier tweeted that council venues shouldn’t be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions in a city that’s multicultural, inclusive and embraces people from all faiths and ethnicities.

“Views that divide rather than unite are repugnant, and I have made my views on this very clear. Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux will not be speaking at any council venues.

“Let me be very clear, the right to does not mean the right to be provided with an Auckland Council platform for that speech.”

So the Mayor now personally decides whose speech is acceptable, and can use an Auckland Council facility. Governments tend to own many large speaking venues so this in fact does massively restrict the ability of someone to do a public session.

Will Goff apply his new standard of not stirring up religious tensions to ban any speakers who support Hamas or Hezbollah?

Of course not.

All these precious snowflakes who can’t handle a 24 year old Canadian from exercising her speech in public.

No Right Turn makes the point:

Unfortunately, being insulted is just something people have to put up with in a free and democratic society, and our Supreme Court is on record (in Brooker v Police) as saying so. We have a right to freedom of speech in New Zealand, which covers not just the right of these racists to speak, but also the right of their racist audience to listen. Restricting that right pre-emptively requires a very high test: basicly an announced intention on the part of the speaker to incite a riot. If that test isn’t met, there’s no justifiable reason to prevent them from speaking. And as I’ve said in other cases, the answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, not less. If they’re giving a speech, then protest outside, and make it damn clear to everyone that kiwis don’t agree with their racism and Islamophobia.

The threshold for suppressing speech should indeed be that high.

But now Goff has unilaterally announced his own test, let’s keep him to it. If you ever see a booking for a Council facility which has a speaker from an organisation with a history of anti-semitism or supporting terrorism, then make sure we all know so we can demand Goff be even handed.

Comments (275)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: