New polling shows Kiwis value free speech; the poorest most of all- and they think it's under threat
Polling conducted this month by Curia Market Research shows that Kiwis continue to strongly believe in free speech, with 75% of respondents agreeing that it is a 'dominant Kiwi value', and only 6% disagreeing. But more needs to be done to respect this right, with a majority saying this crucial freedom is under threat, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.
"Despite the suspicion (or outright antagonism) that is growing against the basic liberty to speak freely, Kiwis remain committed to this tolerant disposition that allows others to think differently to them, and express these ideas. By definition, free speech is necessarily for that expression or those ideas that we find distasteful, even hateful.
"The Free Speech Union is heartened by the strong support Kiwis continue to have for free speech. Censorship is out of step with the vast majority of Kiwis' beliefs, whether on university campuses, in individual workplaces, or through excessive legislation.
"While censorship is often proposed in the defense of the marginalised, poorer Kiwis believe free speech is a Kiwi value just as much, or more, than their wealthier counterparts (76% agreed), but are more likely to believe it is under threat. 51% of all Kiwis believe this cultural value is under threat, whereas 57% of poorer Kiwis believed this and only 43% of wealthy Kiwis agreed.
"Rather than enabling structural oppression, free speech has, time and time again, been the primary weapon used by the marginalised and disadvantaged to undermine the rich, powerful, and privileged. For this reason, creating a culture in the name of the marginalised that is suspicious of free speech and which chips away at its legal standing does a great disservice to the very communities we may be seeking to help."