The Free Speech Union has lodged a formal complaint today with the Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller against Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry in relation to a Facebook post where he suggested that a feminist group – whose political views he does not agree with – is to be allocated to Council “waste bins” if they try to organise an event there.
Free Speech Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “As well as being discriminatory, the comment is in clear contradiction to the Court judgement we received last month that Councils cannot discriminate based on politics when making public facilities available. This comment flies in the face of the law, and is a gross breach of Mr Barry’s duties to uphold it.”
“We’ve gone to the CEO about this issue as she has said she is firmly in favour of SUFW’s right to speak and to hold meetings. That acknowledgement of the seriousness means that she is almost certain to appoint an investigator, notwithstanding the complaint not yet having been laid by an elected official (although that may still happen).”
“Elected officials need to get with the program. Free speech matters, and the law requires it. They cannot use public office and local facilities as personal serfdoms to discriminate against political views they do not like.”