Dane Giraud: I'm calling you out, Raybon!

Yesterday, a NZ comedian (I don’t like to name names. I prefer monikers inspired by people’s ethnic types and body fat indexes… Ah, shit. OK, I’ll name him…) Raybon Kan — did I mention he was a comedian — wrote an anti-Free speech piece for stuff.co.nz. He kicked-off, as every anti-speech screed-writer does, by clearing his throat with an affirmation of his personal commitment to Free Speech (he is a comedian after all) before using his 600 words to inform us he has nothing but scorn for the concept.

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Dr David Cumin's Analysis of the Regional Facilities Auckland Litigation

It took about one year but we got our two days in court. The judge heard our case against Auckland Council and they put up their best defence, as they should. Now we wait for a decision, expected by the end of the year.

The arguments were submitted in writing before they were presented to the judge in person, but they were able to be challenged and refined through questions from His Honour. While it was difficult to hear the words of my affidavit selectively used and abused by lawyers for Auckland Council, I understand their job is to give their client the best defence. And that they did, just as our lawyers presented our case in a convincing manner.

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Media relaxed with state moves to police "harm" in broadcasts

By John Drinnan

There is reason to be nervous about a new strategy for the Broadcasting Standards Authority to focus on “harm” when administering the codes. The new strategy is being developed in tandem with a government review of the legal approach to “hate”. “Hate” is like “harm” - a word that people will seek to define for their own purposes.

Radio New Zealand Mediawatch producer Colin Peacock interviewed BSA chairman Judge Bill Hastings (chief film censor from 1998 to 2010) and chief executive Belinda Moffatt about the change. 

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The speech censors given a free media pass

David Seymour’s proposal to abolish the Human Rights Commission reflects widespread suspicion that is has become a taxpayer-funded nest for people plotting to end the freedoms it was established to protect. As Janet Albrechtsen explained last week in The Australian, the same problem afflicts Australia. Instead of defending free speech the Australian Human Rights Commission has been among the institutions trying to punish people who challenge politically correct views.

The Australian is behind a strict pay-wall, so Janet has authorised the Free Speech Coalition to reproduce her article below. Unfortunately we cannot reproduce the long list of comments the article attracted.

Janet is a highly qualified lawyer but is best known for her journalism, having been a published commentator in most of Australia’s quality news media.

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Journalists have an interest in free speech

John Drinnan says "There is a tendency to accept that people with unorthodox views in the current milieu must be policed and punished. It goes against the notion of objectivity and balance that some of us still expect from media."

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Stuff Article: Mass shootings predate social media, so let's focus on the real problems

With permission from Stuff's editors --

Selected parts of an Opinion piece by Damien Grant, contributor to Stuff and supporter of the Free Speech Coalition

"If you need evidence of why governments should not be trusted with regulating social media companies you only need to flick through the twenty four page advertorial masquerading as a report produced by the freshly minted Helen Clark Foundation last week."

"It isn't a long read, being mostly stock photos and images of Clark and Ardern, but its message is clear: new regulations are needed to prevent online hate speech in order to combat terrorism."

"Which may strike some readers as odd, as the west has been subjected to decades of terrorism that wasn't instigated by Neo-Nazis nor transphobes."

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Is New Zealand a Racist Country? | NZ, racism, hypocrisy & free speech

- Dr David Cumin

I was asked to answer an important question at a recent event hosted by the Indian community in New Zealand: Is NZ a racist country?

The question was clearly based off a comment that Taika Waititi made in 2018 - calling New Zealand "racist as F*ck" - but the terror attacks in Christchurch on March 15th that have shocked our nation mean it is more important than ever to address the question.

It is very easy to point to historical examples of egregious racism in New Zealand. The poll tax on Chinese, banning Te Reo Maori from being spoken at schools, and preventing all but a few Jewish refugees from Europe are all examples of state-endorsed racism; not to mention the other crimes of colonialism against Maori.


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Why Golriz Ghahraman should not be the guardian of our speech

For a first-time list MP who made it into Parliament by the skin of her teeth, and is in a minor party that maybe is or isn’t in government (depending on what day it is and who you ask), Golriz Ghahraman sure gets a lot of attention. I’m loathe to add to it, but her self-appointed role as chief champion of hate speech law reform demands it.

Now, to pre-empt those who apparently consider skin pigmentation determines credentials to comment on this subject, I confess that my skin is some shade of white, though Hitler and his henchmen considered my people most definitely not white, as did the white supremacist gunman who massacred 11 of my people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last year. For those who can see past skin pigmentation, it’s worth remembering Jews (my family included) have a history of persecution and discrimination and that they are still vulnerable; in every Western country where hate crime statistics are maintained, Jews are increasingly disproportionately represented, more so than any other group. I’ve had quite a bit of hate mail (both snail mail and social media) and for those who think lived experience matters when discussing this issue, I believe I have enough of it.

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Censorship is the Snake in the Garden

By Dane Giraud

It seems incredible now but there was a time when nearly every New Zealand suburb had a beautiful movie theatre. They could be rather baroque affairs too, with mezzanine levels and carpet on the walls. My locals were “The Starlight” in Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe, where I saw “Jaws”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (in possibly the greatest double-feature ever), “Rocky’s 2, 3 & 4” and “Return of The Jedi”. The first “Rocky” I saw at the “Orpheus” on Station Rd, Otahuhu, on a rare day out with my father.



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How Hate Speech Laws Violate Equality

Since at least 2017, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has sought to broaden the definition of hate speech, seeing that existing laws had been "unable to be utilized in respect of religious hate speech directed at Muslim New Zealanders, who, for the most part, belong to a variety of ethnic minority communities in New Zealand”.

In the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, Justice Minister Andrew Little has now pledged to work alongside the HRC to “fast-track” (a term you never want to hear when freedoms are at stake) a widespread review that would include deciding if hate speech (including the aforementioned religious hate speech) should be established as its own separate offense.  

It was interesting (and potentially telling, regarding the HRC’s unhelpful ideological bent) that Jews weren’t mentioned in the 2017 HRC text considering how vulnerable we currently are to demonization from both the Hard-Left and Right. Internationally, more than 50% of the hate crimes recorded against a religious group are directed at Jews, who often make up less than 1% of a country’s population.

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Quilliette article - Banning Evil: In the Shadow of Christchurch, Quasi-Religious Myths Can Lead Us Astray

With permission from Quillette's editors--

By Michael Shermer, contributor to Quillette and publisher of Skeptic Magazine. 

On March 15, a 28-year old an Australian gunman named Brenton Tarrant allegedly opened fire in two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques, killing 50 and wounding 50 more. It was the worst mass shooting in the history of that country. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was rightly praised for her response to the murders, declared: “While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers.”

One answer took form a week later, when Ms. Ardern announced legislation that would ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. Will such gun-control measures work to reduce gun crime? Maybe. They did in Australia following a 1996 mass shooting in Tasmania in which 35 people were murdered. A 2006 follow-up study showed that in the 18 years prior to the ban, there had been 13 mass shootings. But in the decade following, there had been none. Gun culture is different in every country. But there is at least an arguable case to be made that the newly announced controls will make New Zealand a safer country.


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Opinion: Far Right impulses drive Left wing censorship

By Dane Giraud -

The anti-speech mob ignore a simple fact; there is incredible diversity within minority groups. Therefore, we must keep society as open and as liberal as possible. The idea that our right to free speech must be tested against “competing rights” comes out of a worldview that minority rights conflict with that of the majority, when the most contentious battles far often happen within minority groups.

The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) preamble recognizes that humans have an “inherent dignity” (women who sleep with me being a notable exception) and “equal and inalienable rights”. So, what’s with the bunk peddled by so many now that “rights” aren’t inalienable and that some rights are more equal than others?


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Opinion: Keeping The Devil Down In The Hole.

By Chris Trotter -

HOW SHOULD New Zealand respond to the Christchurch Mosque Shootings? What should the Government do? A powerful consensus has formed behind the Prime Minister’s call for gun control. Subsequent initiatives may not, however, be so universally affirmed. Voices are already being raised in favour of restricting the public expression of “harmful” ideas. Clearly, the question of what does, and does not, constitute “harm” is going to be hotly contested. The national unity forged out of shock, grief, compassion and solidarity, is unlikely to survive any attempt to aggressively limit free speech in New Zealand.

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Opinion: Government should not sign UN Migration Compact

Next week, New Zealand is expected to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While it is non-binding, the protocol could still damage New Zealanders’ right to free speech and debate.

The Free Speech Coalition is indifferent on immigration policy matters; reasonable people can agree to disagree. However, the Government should not be signing an agreement that says it will seek to restrict free speech on immigration matters.

Objective 17 of the Compact looks to prevent critical speech of immigration policies in an attempt to combat xenophobia and racism. The problem with this is that many legitimate and genuine concerns about immigration are framed as ‘racist’ by some people. The Compact says that governments should defund media which report “intolerant” views. It goes further and says they should be denied “support”, which seems to mean the government should interfere with private funding. Almost any unwelcome truth can be termed “intolerant”, so the Compact will be a tool to suppress New Zealanders speaking their minds.

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