Spotlight on freedom of speech

The Auckland Council unwittingly did Canadian activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux a favour by withdrawing permission for them to speak at the council-owned Bruce Mason Centre.

For those who have not followed the story, their proposed speaking tour drew opposition from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand and the Auckland Peace Action Group.

Early this month Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said that the pair could not use council facilities on the grounds that their presence would stir up ethnic or religious tensions.

A Free Speech Coalition burst into action. This includes Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash, a former Labour Minister Michael Bassett, Property Institute chief executive Ashley Church, Auckland University of Technology history professor Paul Moon, left-wing commentator Chris Trotter, and New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams, among others.

In just 24 hours they crowdfunded $50,000 to initiate a judicial review of the ban. Rallies were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch yesterday.

The totalitarian hostility of the Islamic Federation and so-called peace group and the official cave-in to activist demands resembled a situation in Nelson in April.

When retired computer pioneer Bruce Moon planned to give a talk to the Nelson Institute on how the Treaty of Waitangi had been twisted he was surprised to have permission to talk at the Nelson City Library suddenly withdrawn after complaints.

The Southern-Molyneux ban is reminiscent of our experience as Hobson’s Pledge appeared in September of 2016. Those who didn’t want any challenge to Treaty orthodoxy smeared our message as racist and sought to marginalise us through ridicule.

Subsequently, the media and politicians have routinely ignored everything we had to say until forced to take steps after five districts resoundingly voted against Maori wards.

The Auckland Council ban has had the reverse effect of widely promoting Southern and Molyneux as well as shining a light on the erosion of freedom of speech in New Zealand.

A classic liberal on freedom of speech. See

Lauren Southern on Wikipedia. See

Stefan Molyneux on Wikipedia. See

Auckland’s proposed giant statue

A giant statue of a Maori woman with a chin tattoo, her hair in dreadlocks, and wearing and cloth cloak featuring stylized fern-leaf patterns could be erected at Bastion Point in Auckland.

The structure, proposed by Ngati Whatua Orakei and part-funded by Auckland Council, is intended to represent Papatuanuku the Earth Mother, and would stand 30 to 50 metres tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The iwi has conceived it as Auckland's version of the Statue of Liberty or the 30-metre Christ the Redeemer above Rio de Janeiro, visible in lights at night from across the city, with stunning views from downtown, the North Shore, and from ships and ferries, according to the New Zealand Herald.

If the Statue of Liberty lights the way to freedom and Christ the Redeemer represents the world's largest religion, what would an Auckland statue of a giant Maori woman represent?

Since Maori religion has few adherents, the statue would probably exist as a monument to the current fixation of separating communities into Maori and the rest. Would not a sculpture of merging cultures be more representative and more useful for Auckland?


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