20 October 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Free Speech Union lays complaint with Human Rights Review Tribunal against Taupō District Council over political discrimination
The Free Speech Union has laid a complaint with the Human Rights Review Tribunal over Taupō District Council’s cancellation of Julian Batchelor’s Stop Co-Governance event in April this year. This cancellation was based on disapproval of the political views that would be expressed in this meeting, and represents undemocratic discrimination, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.
“You do not need to agree with someone to defend their freedom of speech and their right to public platforms. Not only does Batchelor have a right to make his claims, the public has a right to hear what he has to say. Our complaint is laid on behalf of Julian Batchelor, the organisers of the event, and all those who wished to attend.
“The Council and Senjo Securities Limited discriminated against Julian Batchelor and his organisers on the basis of their political opinion that co-governance in New Zealand should come to an end. If individuals didn't want to hear these views, they didn't have to attend.
“Taupō District councillors were divided on the cancellation, with one member threatening to resign if Batchelor’s event went ahead. This is undemocratic and not what New Zealanders should expect from their representatives. Disagree with an opinion all you like, but don't deprive others the right to discuss or hear these views.
“Private venues have no obligation to host events contrary to their values, but public venues have a clear duty not to discriminate. Bound by the Bill of Rights Act, Taupō District Council has failed to respect the speech rights of its residents, and the Tribunal must hold them accountable.”
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