Pages tagged "Hutt City Council"

  • Taituarā’s President censors work of revered and respected Māori leader

  • Hutt City Council censors work of revered and respected Māori leader

  • Hutt City Council censors work of revered and respected Māori leader


    05 March 2024

    Hutt City Council censors work of revered and respected Māori leader

    Hutt City Council banned an insert of Sir Apirana Ngata’s ‘Treaty of Waitangi – An Explanation’ from its premises on the basis that it “spread a very particular political viewpoint” and “viewed as spreading misinformation.” We believe this is an illegal breach of free speech, and simply another example of censorship, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union. 

    “The insert was published in 31 NZME and Stuff newspapers throughout the North Island last year. When the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR), who funded the advocacy, asked for an explanation from the Hutt City Council as to why they banned the insert, their response was a poor excuse.

    “The Council claimed the insert in The Hutt News was misinformation, spreading a particular viewpoint without counterbalance. 

    “Firstly, paid advertising does not require counter perspectives. Secondly, if the Council really believed this, why did they not supply a counter perspective themselves?

    “We don’t just believe in freedom of speech from a legal perspective, but as a social good that allows people to peacefully, freely advocate for the causes they care about without risking unjust retribution. You don’t have to agree with someone to uphold their rights. 

    “The Hutt City Council has a responsibility to uphold free speech under the Bill of Rights Act. If you disagree with someone, debate it and invite counterarguments. Don’t censor someone’s voice, and in turn, stop others from hearing it.

    “We have contacted the Council for an explanation of their actions, and are taking advice on potential legal action for this breach.”


  • Complaint lodged against Hutt City Mayor for discrimination of a feminist group

    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.”


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