Who is behind this website?
This website was created by a group of New Zealanders from across the political spectrum who believe free speech is a value worth defending. Some of the people involved and backing this campaign are:
- Dr. Michael Bassett - Former Labour Party Minister
- Dr. Don Brash - Former leader of the National and ACT Parties, and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
- Ashley Church - Business Leader
- Dr. David Cumin - Senior Lecturer University of Auckland
- Melissa Derby - University of Canterbury Academic
- Stephen Franks - Lawyer
- Paul Moon - Professor of History Auckland University of Technology
- Lindsay Perigo - Broadcaster
- Rachel Poulain - Writer
- Chris Trotter - Political Commentator
- Jordan Williams - Lawyer
Why was the Coalition formed?
The Free Speech Coalition was formed to stand up to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff who was ‘banning’ two Canadian speakers, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, from council-owned venues based on their political views.
In just 24 hours, our campaign successfully crowdsourced $50,000 to engage judicial review proceedings against Auckland Council and Mayor Phil Goff.
What was the result of the legal action?
The legal action against Auckland Council remains underway.
We have pursued two lines of legal argument:
- Banning speakers from public property on the basis of political views breaches the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act.
- The Council should not grant protesters an effective veto on controversial speech with a limp “health and safety” excuse.
The Council, in responding to our action, has confirmed that Mr Goff misled the public. He claimed credit for the ban but the Council’s lawyers say the decision was exclusively made by Regional Facilities Auckland (the body that manages Council-owned venues), and that the Mayor’s claimed reasons were irrelevant.
In short, we have been vindicated on point 1, and prevented the dangerous public precedent of a mayor claiming personal power to dictate which views can be heard in public halls.
However, point 2 stands. The Council decision to cancel the event for spurious ‘security’ reasons highlights the dangers of censorship or suppression by a minority of thugs who threaten violent protest.
We are therefore continuing legal action to set a precedent preventing a "thug's veto" against controversial speech.
The Southern/Molyneux issue is in the past. Why continue your campaign?
This campaign was never about standing up for two particular speakers. Our goal remains to set a precedent that protects free speech for people of all views.
We have most recently seen the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University bar Dr Don Brash from speaking on campus, citing 'security concerns' and his opposition to Maori wards on local councils. This is a perfect example of why the Free Speech Coalition must keep fighting.
Can I donate using online banking?
Absolutely. Our account details are: 'Free Speech Coalition' 01-0527-0680196-00. Or you can donate online here.
What will my donation be used for?
We continue to engage lawyers against Auckland Council for its capitulation to protesters of the Southern/Molyneux event. However, this is unlikely to be our last free speech battle. Any surplus funds will be used for promoting and advancing freedom of speech and democracy within New Zealand.