Censorship on campus – academic freedom bill is voted down by MPs who fear exposure to some ideas can be damaging to our health

Labour MP Jo Luxton – in a Parliamentary speech about academic freedom in this country – referred to the recent shooting in the United States by a young person who had been “radicalised and emboldened” by the mosque attacks in Christchurch a few years ago.

These were actions based on hate for someone of a different race or religion.

She referred, too, to the 23-day occupation of the grounds of Parliament by protesters earlier this year.

“Our place, the people’s place, was desecrated while people had a platform to spread their mis- and disinformation, where they spoke about freedom, freedom of speech, and they also spoke about hate.”

In defence of censorship on campus, in effect, she said she wanted her children to go out and explore the world and to attend university and other learning institutions.

“But I want to know they are as safe as possible while they do so. I can’t tag along to uni with them too, so, as parents, we put a lot of trust in those places—that they will do all that they can to keep our children safe, and that means minimising the risk of mental harm, minimising the risk of physical harm, which they are obliged to do under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

“This proposed piece of legislation takes that away.

Hence she opposed a private member’s bill intended to enhance the right to freedom of expression within our universities.  Continue reading “Censorship on campus – academic freedom bill is voted down by MPs who fear exposure to some ideas can be damaging to our health”

When “hate” tweets are not a crime – but disproportionate action by the cops impedes a tweeter’s freedoms

The boundaries of free speech were at issue in two recent court cases, one in Britain, the other in New Zealand.

In the British case, a judge ruled that the police response to an ex-officer’s tweets (allegedly transphobic) was a “disproportionate interference” with his right to freedom of expression.

The judge said:

“In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.”

In the New Zealand case, the judge was spared the need to rule in favour of …

  • Businessman Sir Bob Jones, who wrote in a newspaper column that Waitangi Day should be replaced with Māori Gratitude Day and Māori bring Pākehā breakfast in bed; or
  • Film-maker Renae Maihi, who said in evidence she recognised Sir Bob was not seriously calling for Māori to bring breakfast in bed.   She nevertheless had responded by gathering signatures for a petition which called for Sir Bob’s knighthood to be stripped and described him as racist and an author of hate speech.

Sir Bob said the petition defamed him.

The defence argued that joking doesn’t diffuse racism. Continue reading “When “hate” tweets are not a crime – but disproportionate action by the cops impedes a tweeter’s freedoms”

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”