But the mainstream media won’t be unduly bothered. The first of the two posts yesterday looks likely to keep their political reporters and the commentariat busy for some time, mainly with conjecture and speculation about why she really resigned, who will succeed her, how the election campaign will be affected, and so on.
Elon Musk continues to develop the new free speech model for Twitter, drawing on comedy for new ideas and as a way of deflecting political criticism. Jacinda Ardern’s approach involves less humour. THOMAS CRANMER examines the contrast…
On Sunday I asked the question: would Twitter unfollow the Prime Minister given that, on the face of it, Musk and Ardern have very different ideas of how the public square should operate?
As it turned out, it was a question that the Prime Minister was also pondering. When questioned on Tuesday about Twitter’s change of ownership, Ardern observed that “it is fair to say we are in a bit of unknown territory at this point”. They had, it seemed, changed their relationship status to “it’s complicated”. Despite this setback Musk and Ardern both had a busy week, with each of them progressing their own vision of how public discourse should be moderated.
The Prime Minister’s latest call to limit free speech has been widely criticised yet it has been barely reported in New Zealand. GRAHAM ADAMS writes –
In the eyes of Jacinda Ardern’s substantial global fan base, she remains a beacon of hope in a dark and chaotic world — a source of inspiration and a humble force for good amongst often tawdry, self-serving politicians.
For them, her address to the United Nations late last month will undoubtedly have reinforced her appeal. There she was at the podium in New York, imploring the sprinkling of diplomats seated before her to act against “mis- and disinformation online”, which she rated as dangerous as bullets and bombs.
She implied that misguided views legitimising the Russian invasion of Ukraine were hampering efforts to end it and that climate change denialism was a problem that world leaders needed to confront head on.
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.”
The Minister of Justice appears to have gone into hiding. GRAHAM ADAMS, writing for The Democracy Project, provides an update on how the public debate on hate speech regulation is going, especially in terms of whether political opinion should or shouldn’t receive an exemption from new laws.
It fell to RNZ to break the news to the nation late last week that the Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, had “gone to ground”. Despite making repeated requests to interview him about proposals to expand hate-speech laws, the public broadcaster has been told the minister in charge of managing their introduction is too busy — even during a three-week parliamentary recess — to discuss them.
With her Minister of Justice having gone AWOL ever since a disastrous television interview on the topic a month ago, the Prime Minister’s call for a national debate has lurched from a shambles into farce. The government allowed only six weeks for public submissions and now — with less than two weeks to go until the August 6 deadline — the cat has apparently got Faafoi’s tongue in an iron grip.
We imagine this is not intended to discourage or eliminate discrimination of the sort that bestows favours or privileges when the government promotes an “us” and “them” society through the increasing development of Crown-Maori partnerships.
Final decisions had yet to be made on how the full Housing Acceleration Fund would be used, Housing Minister Megan Woods said this week, but $350 million has been ring-fenced for a Māori Infrastructure Fund.
So where is a fund that has been ring-fenced for other ethnicities?
The Government has announced a raft of initiatives in its response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Masjidain.
We are told it is not considering the introduction of specific hate crime laws. But a law to deal with “hate speech” – clearly intended to further crimp our freedom of speech to some degree – is another matter.
While hate speech legislation has been promised, and is expected to be announced after the release of the Royal Commission of Inquiry report later today, specific offences for more serious hate crimes will not be coming.
Reaction to the royal commission’s report wasn’t the only matter dealt with by ministers in the past day or two.
The Beehive website shows:
Contact tracing in New Zealand will get a substantial boost from tomorrow with the addition of Bluetooth tracing to the NZ COVID Tracer app.
The Government is delivering on a key commitment to better protect security guards’ pay and conditions by adding them to Schedule 1A of the Employment Relations Act.
Te Ahu o te Reo Māori will be expanded as a nationwide initiative for up to 10,000 teachers, leaders and support staff who wish to strengthen their use of te reo Māori,
While the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Commission are examining whether New Zealand laws properly balance the issues of freedom of speech and hate speech (whatever that might be), taxpayers are helping to finance Chinese propaganda.
Hateful propaganda, we suggest.
The Screen Production Grant has handed a $243,000 subsidy to a propaganda film produced by Chinese state-owned enterprises.
The film’s tagline (reportedly) is ‘Anyone who offends China, no matter how remote, must be exterminated.’
One of Sir Peter Jacksons companies is credited (or discredited) with being a beneficiary of the funding, which has been channelled through the Film Commission.
News of this shameful use of public money did not come to us through the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which is triggered by distributions proudly announced by Ministers of the Crown.
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.”
“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….”