Free Speech Union welcomes expansion of COVID-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference and wider conversation on social cohesion

MEDIA RELEASE

 

25 June 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Free Speech Union welcomes expansion of COVID-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference and wider conversation on social cohesion

In an era of growing polarisation and division in our society, our response to COVID-19 has led to even greater fractures. The Free Speech Union called for the COVID-19 Terms of Reference to be expanded and to include, among other issues, the impact our response had on social division. This is what the Government has committed to, and we welcome that decision, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.

“The Free Speech Union facilitated over 4,000 of the 13,000 submissions made to this consultation. Implicit in each of these submissions is the belief that suppressing dissent, or even patently wrong views, does little to address the error, and erodes social cohesion.

“Free speech is indispensable for any true cohesion or unity to exist.

“The ‘Team of 5 million’ (and similar messaging) was a cynical taunt for many who felt unable to speak out against features of the response to COVID-19. This has led to greater polarisation in New Zealand.

“Putting aside whether those individuals were correct or not, as a country we must not move forward without examining the way our response exacerbated division.

“We also welcome the opportunity for public hearings of evidence. Through this process, we trust a mature, open public conversation will emerge that allows us to respond better to crises in the future, and for divisions that have been caused or worsened by this response to be addressed.”

ENDS

Media contact - Jonathan Ayling 021 842 215, [email protected]

Note to editor: Read more about the submissions we facilitated here.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • Rhys Barlow
    commented 2024-06-25 19:45:38 +1200
    Outstanding result. Good work FSU.
  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-06-25 17:33:58 +1200

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