A defamation action taken by Sir Robert Jones over the definition of hate speech is long overdue, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.
Sir Robert is suing film maker Renae Maihi over her comments about a satirical column that he wrote titled “Time for a troll” in which he said a new public holiday should be introduced called Maori Gratitude Day instead of Waitangi Day.
Renae Maihi, who apparently did not see the column as satire, organised a petition calling for the Prime Minister to strip him of his knighthood.
“Attacking a satirical column as hate speech shows how far we have shifted from freedom of speech,” Dr Brash said.
“The ‘racist’ tag is freely used, with apparent impunity, by “Maori rights” activists, often to shut down debate”, Dr Brash said.
“But any comment on or challenge to treaty orthodoxy unleashes a clobbering machine that extends from social media, through the mainstream media, to the Human Rights Commissioner”, Dr Brash said.
“Do we or do we not have freedom of speech and does freedom of speech extend to race issues”, Dr Brash said.
“Sir Robert has done us all a favour by putting this issue up for public debate”, Dr Brash said.