Pages tagged "Local Elections"

  • Council Candidates Report Released By Free Speech Union Outlining Which Local Candidates Stand For Free Speech

    19 September 2022


    Council Candidates Report Released By Free Speech Union Outlining Which Local Candidates Stand For Free Speech

    A report collating hundreds of responses from local council candidates in each district across the country has been released by the Free Speech Union. This report will be a significant tool for the tens of thousands of supporters of the Free Speech Union, as they begin voting for candidates who will defend this basic freedom, says Jonathan Ayling, Spokesperson for the Union.

    "Kiwis deserve to know whether their political representatives will respect or harm their right to speak and believe. In the spirit of free speech, we have let the candidates speak for themselves on a number of key free speech issues, both nationally and in local government, alongside presenting our stance on these issues.

    "In making this report, the Free Speech Union sent a questionnaire to all candidates with emails published on council websites. We have also included in some regions cases of some candidates’ involvement on issues of free speech.

    "We asked each candidate 8 questions that outline whether they are free speech champions or the next cohort of censors shutting down local residents' speech. In the introduction to the report, we unpack why we asked these questions, and why they indicate where these candidates stand on this important freedom.

    "We believe strongly in the right for politicians to hold and express their views openly. But to succeed in protecting and extending this basic freedom, we need to show them that they won't get away with shutting down the speech of others.

  • Free Speech Union Releases Local Council Election Guidelines For Tolerant Debate

    19 September 2022


    Free Speech Union Releases Local Council Election Guidelines For Tolerant Debate

    In response to the release of Inclusive Campaigning Guidelines by LGNZ and the Race Relations Commissioner, the Free Speech Union has created its own Truly Tolerant Campaign Guidelines to push back against attempts to control the debate and agenda of this year’s local government elections, says Jonathan Ayling, spokesperson for the Free Speech Union.

    “The Free Speech Union believes strongly that political candidates must have the freedom to express their ideas and policies as they see fit, and that the only arbiters of the acceptability of their speech are voters at the ballot box. It is vitally important that candidates can show their true selves.

    “In their guidelines, LGNZ Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene makes clear her goal of “shifting what’s acceptable”, a task that should be reserved for voters, not bureaucrats. Likewise, in an interview subsequent to releasing the Guidelines, Meng Foon implied that anyone opposing policies related to co-governance and Māori wards was racist. These examples show Freeman-Greene and Foon are putting their fingers on the scale of democracy by policing how local government candidates should engage with New Zealanders and debate these issues

    “The Truly Tolerant Campaigning Guidelines reflect our attitude to democracy and the freedom of candidates to express themselves freely. Our guidelines assert such principles as proposed government policy never being a “no-go zone”, and encouraging political candidates to engage even with those whom they find unsavoury.

    “We agree with LGNZ and Meng Foon that respect is important in political debate and that when discussing issues, the focus should be on the ideas and not the characteristics of those proposing them. What we won't enforce, however, are our own opinions of what “respectability” means.

    "We have provided Council candidates across the country with these guidelines, and a questionnaire on their positions related to free speech. We will use this to create a report for the 75,000 Free Speech Union supporters around the country to use when voting.

    “In these elections, we call upon candidates and voters to take a stand for free speech as a principle critical to the healthy functioning of our democracy. Candidates deserve to show their true selves and voters deserve to know them. We achieve this through open dialogue and free speech.”

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