Pages tagged "Thugs' Veto"

  • SC 57/2021 Moncrief-Spittle v Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd

    The Supreme Court heard the appeal from the Court of Appeal’s judgment on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 February 2022.

    Jack Hodder QC advanced our case at common law, arguing that before a public body can cancel a venue hire agreement in the face of the threat of a heckler’s veto, it needs to have cogent and informed evidence following proper investigation and consultation. That submission relied upon recent and leading authorities on free speech from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    A number of the judges were concerned about health and safety, and the need to protect the bodily integrity of those involved with an event.  We argued that health and safety obligations have a ‘reasonableness’ element and must be read in light of free speech rights.  Our lawyers accepted that bodily integrity is an important consideration but argued that it must be balanced against free speech and cannot justify limiting free speech unless the risk is very serious.

    Professor Philip Joseph argued our case under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. He told the Court they were required to make their own assessment of whether the limits placed on free speech were justified.  He said the Court could not rely on the assessment by RFAL because it had not undertaken the required balancing exercise.  He said that RFAL had opted for the “nuclear option” by cancelling the venue hire agreement.

    The Council argued that the High Court was correct to find that RFAL was not subject to judicial review or the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.  There were few questions on this topic from the Court.  But the Chief Justice was interested in how RFAL’s commercial decision-making might be affected.  Mr Hodder explained that there would be no impact on the ability to, for example, charge fees because that would not involve controlling the content of speech.

    The Chief Justice also asked what impact remote participation might have on free speech.  The Council suggested that society may no longer need to tolerate a level of disorder in order to facilitate free speech. We strongly rejected that suggestion and emphasised the importance of in-person communication for dialogue and protest.

  • Professor Philip Joseph Joins Free Speech Court Case

    2 June 2021


    Professor Philip Joseph Joins Free Speech Court Case

    Because the issues are so important, Professor Philip Joseph, the author of New Zealand’s leading textbook on Constitutional and Administrative Law, has volunteered to support the Free Speech Union’s lead barrister Jack Hodder QC before the Supreme Court in its appeal relating to the banning of controversial Canadian speakers from Auckland Council-owned venues. The Free Speech Union is heartened by this public-spirited move.

    Union spokesman, Dr David Cumin, says “We think the issues should be straightforward. The effects of the Thug’s Veto are clear. Our Court of Appeal acknowledged that the Supreme Courts of the US and Canada have grappled with the question - how far to let threats of violence override free speech rights. New Zealand’s Supreme Court judges should look forward to an opportunity to discuss this area of law and how to clarify it with an eminent specialist constitutional lawyer, as well as Mr Hodder.”

    On Monday the Free Speech Union announced its application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, prompted in part by the recent events of a New Zealand feminist group being banned from multiple councils because what they might say on a proposed law before Parliament could cause offence and therefore pose ‘health and safety' threats to officials.

  • Dane Giraud: I'm calling you out, Raybon!

    Yesterday, a NZ comedian (I don’t like to name names. I prefer monikers inspired by people’s ethnic types and body fat indexes… Ah, shit. OK, I’ll name him…) Raybon Kan — did I mention he was a comedian — wrote an anti-Free speech piece for He kicked-off, as every anti-speech screed-writer does, by clearing his throat with an affirmation of his personal commitment to Free Speech (he is a comedian after all) before using his 600 words to inform us he has nothing but scorn for the concept.

    And those prepared to defend it.

    People like me — Dane Giraud: the Silverback Jew! 🦍✡️


    Kan’s focus in his… well… schmatta (I call it that because I wouldn’t wipe my ass with writing so vulgar) rather tellingly was the “Free Speech Coalition”-of which I am a member-whom he presents as being in the service of White Nationalists, for choosing to bring a case against Auckland City Council for the cancellation of Canadian speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux.

    Boy, did I screw-up?! A Jew, whose partner is a Muslim, and I end working for Nazis?!?

    I said tellingly because people are rarely able to defend speech restrictions: it’s an inherently corrupt position. The tactic is always to cast aspersions on anyone seeking to affirm this pivotal liberal value; a value that played a central role in the fight for all minority rights, the side-lining of the church as a pervasive cultural force, and in many of our advances in science and the arts.

    “In my view, the Free Speech Coalition would have contributed more to society, this entire year, if it had just got in a room, cranked up Pornhub, and gone for it ambidextrously till exhaustion”.

    What is either lost, or is wilfully being ignored by Kan, is that the current case is not in the service of the specific set of speakers at all; no case mounted for free speech ever is — it’s a case in defense of any and all potential speakers who may want to use council facilities — facilities we’re told are politically neutral. The authoritarian tends to believe they will always be in power, which may explain why Raybon isn’t fazed by how a decision to withdraw a platform could set a seriously worrying precedent; a precedent that could affect climate change activists, anti-war protesters, feminists, or, indeed, anyone who could be perceived problematic to those holding the keys to a venue. Raybon himself could one day fall foul of power and find his own performances banned. It’s feasible we may one day have a mayor with taste! A citizen’s relationship with power and the nature of power itself is constantly changing.

    A source of resentment for Raybon, which I’ve heard expressed plenty of times now, is how efficient the Coalition was in organizing and raising funds. I guess when you’re taking in $42 a night, in gold coins, at your shows, the amount of money we raised would get your hackles up. But don’t look at us! If anything, this is more about the New Zealand public’s general support of this central liberal principle. Most people support free speech, with relatively few wanting state overlords able to dictate what can and can’t be said. If Raybon is upset about our efficiency this is something he might want to take up with the New Zealand public.

    “It’s never your job to give racists useful information. Your job is to make the life of racists as difficult as possible. Make stuff up. (Exercise your freedom of speech.) Tell them NZ doesn’t do free speech. Tell them we only do it in leap years, during certain tidal patterns, and only if you wear the exotic “fern frond of free speech” — a rare fern only found over that steep cliff, over there, which you must approach backwards, on rollerblades, while wearing the “blindfold of justice”. Whatever you do, don’t volunteer, innovate, network, campaign, or crowdfund. Duh.

    So basically, don’t defend free speech — even go as far as to mislead and obscure people’s rights around free expression. But only for some, of course: the ones Raybon disagrees with.

    Again, dude, any speaker being defended is all speakers being defended.

    Why can’t Kan, and so many others, grasp this?

    If you find someone’s views repugnant, don’t help them plug in speakers and turn up the volume.

    When the Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern story broke, few New Zealander’s knew who they were. Thanks to Goff and subsequent media coverage, most media-consumers in New Zealand would’ve been exposed to at least their basic ideas. Censorship is valued PR. Being banned and the subsequent notoriety gained is often viewed as a coup by entertainers and speakers. Alice Cooper spent two years trying to get arrested. When he finally was, his stardom was assured. This is 101 shit. Goff, and you, Raybon, basically made breakfast in bed for the Canadian duo.

    Who’s working for who, again?

    The Silverback Jew is not the one in the service of Nazis. I understand that, as the member of a minority group, what rights I have were won, and can only be sustained, by a liberal system. This means defending the rights to free expression for all sorts of assholes because every asshole I defend assures this asshole has a better chance to say his piece.

    I called Raybon out and challenged him to a debate on this, on our official podcast. Something tells me he isn’t going to play. My prediction? He’d fold like a deckchair mic to mic with Dane Giraud, because, as I said earlier, once you can’t play the man and you got to pick up that ball with this topic, the anti-speech crowd crumble.

    But the offer still stands, Raybon. You were happy to spray me and others in print. Speaking only for myself now, I can forgive that. But be a man and offer me a real right of reply. I said I’d buy lunch. I even offered to write you some jokes! Alright… your own sitcom!

    Will you accept the wero?

  • Coalition raising funds for legal action against Massey VC

    Free Speech Coalition raising funds for legal action against Massey University Vice-Chancellor

    9 AUGUST 2018

    The Free Speech Coalition has resolved that, contingent on raising sufficient funds, it will be issuing legal proceedings against the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University.

    Free Speech Coalition member Melissa Derby says, “Massey University’s action in barring Don Brash raises very similar legal and ethical issues as Auckland Council’s ban on Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from Council-owned venues. In both bases, an authority has used threats of disruptive protest as an excuse to shut down contentious speech. This is the thug’s veto in action.”

    “Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas’ ‘security concerns’ appear to be a ruse to obscure her real motivation – her personal distaste for Don Brash’s opposition to Maori wards on councils, a view she describes as ‘dangerously close to hate speech’, in addition to his support of the speech rights of the recent Canadian visitors.”

    “This is a disgraceful breach of the University’s own charter and mission to "promote free and rational inquiry", and sets a dangerously low bar for ‘hate speech’.”

    “At the same time, we continue to engage Auckland Council in the High Court for their capitulation to the thugs. We face significant legal costs, but are advised that the marginal cost of bringing Massey into our case will be lower than for someone launching independent action.”

    Dr David Cumin, another member of the Free Speech Coalition, says, With Massey University refusing to back down on barring Don Brash from speaking on campus, it is clear that free speech issues are not going away. Many supporters of the cause have contacted us to urge the Free Speech Coalition to become permanent. We have now resolved to incorporate as a permanent group.

    “New Zealanders are welcome to join and donate to the coalition at

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