A flat tax? Alas, RNZ burnt up its interview time while grilling Seymour about free speech and the racism bogey

RNZ’s Morning Report yesterday led us to hope we would hear something about the attractions of a flat tax, an idea once promoted by Roger Douglas when he was Minister of Finance in the Lange government.

A flat tax – adopted in some American states and European countries – is among the tax reforms favoured by the Act party as it tries to refresh its image.

We were led to believe the Morning Report team would kick this around with Act leader David Seymour just before 8am yesterday because they mentioned it in their introduction to an interview with him.  

Presenter Corin Dann said Act is targeting free speech “and radical tax reform” as it works to lift voter support heading into next year’s election.

The party had re-launched with the slogan ‘Act for freedom’. Continue reading “A flat tax? Alas, RNZ burnt up its interview time while grilling Seymour about free speech and the racism bogey”

At Kiwiblog you can find an article on free speech which Stuff and Newshub have not published

Stuff columnist Donna Miles-Mojab laid down a challenge to ACT leader David Seymour in a column headed: Why not rebut Ghahraman’s arguments, rather than label her a menace?

The column, prompted by Seymour’s saying “Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country”, asked:

Why not offer a rebuttal to her arguments instead of accusing her of being “a real menace to freedom in this country”?  

She might now ask of Stuff: when will they publish the 700 or so words which Seymour submitted on the controversy around his remarks?

An email from Seymour says: Continue reading “At Kiwiblog you can find an article on free speech which Stuff and Newshub have not published”

Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code

In case you missed it, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, reckons Act  leader David Seymour is a bully.

The Speaker spoke on TV One’s Breakfast yesterday after publication of the review which found bullying is widespread in Parliament.

Interviewer John Campbell couldn’t resist dragging Seymour into considerations:  he asked if it had been bullying or robustness, when Seymour described Green MP Golriz Ghahraman as “a real menace to freedom in this country.”  

Mallard replied:

“In my opinion it did step over the line.  Its not a breach of privilege because it didn’t happen in the House. It’s not a criminal offence but I think it showed poor judgement….”

Campbell:  “Do you think it was bullying?”

Mallard:  “Ah, yes…” Continue reading “Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code”

How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins

A headline in the left-leaning The StandardIn praise of Judith Collins – caught us by surprise.

The author of The Standard’s post criticised ACT leader David Seymour for “being a dick” about Green MP Golriz Gharaman and for tweeting:

“Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country.” spoke to about the dangers facing free speech in New Zealand and the political theatre of Jacinda Ardern’s Christchurch Call.”

Let’s check out what’s going on here and why – on this matter, at least – Collins is being praised by a left-wing blogger.   Continue reading “How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins”

Muzzling the hate messengers seems easy enough (but not for legislators bound by the US constitution)

Let’s make it clear: Point of Order is not serving as a proselytiser for the United States, when we observe the constraints under which the US operates through its constitution which dates from September 1787.  Reflect on our earlier posting on gun laws.

By way of diversion, this is an example of why NZ might avoid the tendentious enthusiasm for a written NZ constitution from the likes of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a short-term former prime minister.

The hands of the US are tied securely by the founding document.  Imagine the Treaty of Waitangi being capable of amendment. Continue reading “Muzzling the hate messengers seems easy enough (but not for legislators bound by the US constitution)”

No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit

The ranks of world leaders who will attend the summit in Paris on Wednesday next week to grapple with hate  speech and social media are looking somewhat thin.

Called by PM Jacinda Ardern and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, the conference is billed as seeing “world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate  terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Both leaders say the two nations will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Problem is, few world leaders seem eager to attend. At a recent count there might be five or six including Jordan and Indonesia. Continue reading “No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit”

Freedom of speechlessness – recollections of how another university buckled to the muzzlers

From a Guest Correspondent –

Discovering a collection of columns in The Times by the incomparable Bernard Levin in a secondhand bookshop provided a reminder that the debate over freedom of speech in the universities was raging in Britain more than three decades ago.

In a 1986 (December 1) column headed “Freedom of speechlessness“, Levin noted that the authorities in the University College of Cardiff had made a formal agreement with the students’ union which enshrined the right to deny a hearing to any speaker deemed “controversial“.

Levin wrote:

“If such a speaker is invited, the union will be officially allowed to wage an ‘orderly’ demonstration outside the hall. (In practice, of course, that means that the students will continue, as is the fashion, to bang and spit on the speaker’s car, to try to prevent him from getting into the hall, and to scream abuse at him.)

“When the meeting is about to start, the official demonstrators from outside are to officially enter the hall and take up official position. Should the speaker say something that displeases them, ‘official heckling’ will then begin, and if the speaker persists in saying things they do not approve of, they will then exercise their right, enshrined in the memorable words ‘chanting will take place’ to prevent him being heard.”

Continue reading “Freedom of speechlessness – recollections of how another university buckled to the muzzlers”