That a university … would ban a speaker such as Brash, a former Reserve Bank governor and Opposition leader, is of great concern. Nelson Mail, Wednesday 8 August, 2018
Freedom of expression
By Roger Childs
It is a freedom we should cherish as most countries in the world don’t allow it. Kapiti Independent is committed to it, but we draw the line at “hate speech” and insulting language.
Prior to the Massey University Vice Chancellor’s recent announcement forbidding Don Brash to speak on campus, there had been at least two other notable cases in the country.
The extreme right wingers, Canadians, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, got more publicity than they deserved when the Auckland Council forbad them from using Council premises and created an unwarranted cause célèbre.
They spoke anyway and only a few turned up.
Bruce Moon in Nelson
Readers will recall Bruce’s articles for KIN and will know he holds views that are not always politically correct. However, he is widely respected as an historian who is thorough in his research and backs up his arguments with solid evidence.
Earlier this year he was invited to speak by the Nelson Institute which was set up way back in 1841! His topic was entitled Twisting the Treaty and other fake history which raised the hackles of some people in the community.
The whole schemozzle was initiated by persons unknown to me calling the Nelson City Council and Library, saying that my talk should not proceed. They did not call the police to investigate these threats but waffled on about a “health and safety issue’. It took off from there. Bruce Moon
There were twists and turns in what followed, but a key element was the comment by Ngai Tama descendent, John Mitchell, who quoted the famous comment of a biographer of Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
After chopping and changing on a venue, Bruce eventually got to speak on the topic, inadvertently suggested by Mitchell – A jaundiced view of the treaty.
Before it started the “house full” sign went up and the talk proceeded without interjections but with polite questioning at the end.
Don Brash – not everyone’s cup of tea
Don is a key figure in the much maligned and misunderstood Hobson’s Pledge organisation. They basically want equality in New Zealand. However, regardless of what people think of his views, he does have a fundamental right to express his opinions in public.
Universities have long been regarded as bastions of free speech, and to have Massey saying no to Don is appalling.
I must say that sometimes overseas institutions do likewise. Last year that one-time focus of radicalism, Berkeley UC, banned a pro-Israeli speaker from giving a public talk.
New Zealand used to have a proud record in promoting freedom of speech, but unfortunately that seems to be changing.
On the recent, foolish decision by Massey Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas, let’s finish where we started, with the Nelson Mail.
Brash is used to a bit of mud-slinging. He once infamously tasted a bit of the brown stuff because of his views on race and racial preference. Thomas and Massey University have just thrown some themselves. But in the act of doing so they have covered themselves in more than a little dirt, and besmirched the free speech and academic freedoms they should be promoting.