Auckland Council faces heat over decision to ban right-wing speakers

Long Lunch 13/07/2018
Phil Goff has defended his decision to ban the speakers.

When Auckland Council banned right-wing Canadians Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern from using a council venue for a seminar, the decision caused an outpour of both praise and anger.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff later clarified on Twitter that Auckland Council venues “shouldn’t be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions”.

“Let me be very clear, the right to free speech does not mean the right to be provided with an @AklCouncil platform for that speech,” he added.

But some conservative figures argue that the Canadians were unfairly denied their right to freely speak at the venue in question. Mr Molyneux and Ms Southern planned to use Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Centre in August to cover a range of issues.

Don Brash, a member of the Free Speech Coalition, called Mr Goff’s decision “entirely wrong”. The coalition raised over $50,000 to take the council to court over the decision.

"If free speech is only permission to say something nice about something no one much cares about, it's not really free speech at all," Mr Brash told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen on Tuesday.

Conservative organisation Right Minds NZ will launch a series of “free speech rallies” in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on July 14 in an effort to respond to Mr Goff’s decision to ban the speakers.

Have Lauren Southern or Stefan Molyneux ever caused violence against anybody?

Right Minds NZ founder Dieuwe de Boer told RadioLIVE that his organisation wants to see free speech defended.

When host Carly Flynn asks whether Mr de Boer believes hate speech should be banned, he replied that it depends on how hate speech is defined.

Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern. Photo: Newshub.

“The real issue around what is hate speech is - how do people define hate speech? And have Lauren Southern or Stefan Molyneux ever caused violence against anybody? And the answer to that is clearly no, if you go through their countless hours of video.”

National leader Simon Bridges said that the Canadian speakers should have been allowed to speak, despite personally disagreeing with their views.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson publicly applauded the council’s decision on social media, but said she's since received death and rape threats from supporters of the Canadian duo.

Auckland Council will head to court over its controversial decision next month.

Listen to the full interview with Dieuwe de Boer above.

The Long Lunch with Carly Flynn in for Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.