“Seasoned politicians, academics and commentators have taken the bait of the right wing extremists Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern. They are now preparing to defend their right to incite racial hatred in our communities after raising $50,000 to sue the Auckland Council for having the good sense not to provide these racists with a platform,” said Valerie Morse from Auckland Peace Action.

“The so-called ‘Free Speech’ Coalition is full of hypocrites and opportunists. They should be labelled the Coalition for Hate Speech.”

“Don Brash does not support free speech. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours trying to shut down any and all speech in te reo Māori. He actively works to shut down Māori voices and Māori representation,” said Laura O’Connell Rapira of Action Station.

“And where was the Free Speech Coalition and their money when Bob Jones was trying to squash the free speech of two Māori Women who were calling him out on his racism?” asks Valerie Morse

“Marama Davidson MP  knows who has free speech in this country, and it clearly isn’t her. Her support of the Auckland Council ban on these racists resulted in death threats against her and her family. I guess the imaginary threat to free speech is more important to these people than actual death threats.”

“Hate speech is not free speech by an individual. Hate speech is an industry for the racist right—an organised, purposely provocative recruiting tool, and a show of power aiming at greater power. These alt-right speakers are a wedge: their hate speech creates the environment where racist speech and violence against Tangata Whenua, migrants and refugees is acceptable and normalised.”

Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy is on record as saying that she receives daily complaints about racism. Muslim women were frequently targeted, and ‘no one comes to their defence’.

New Zealand law states that under Section 131 of the Human Rights Act it is illegal to say anything that excites hostility against or brings into contempt any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.” The so-called ‘Free Speech Coalition’ is going to have to argue in court that what Molyneux and Lauren say doesn’t reach the legal threshold for hate speech in New Zealand , and in making these arguments, they are accepting that their repugnant views as having a valid place in our society.”

We must not let racist hate speech be normalised in our society, or foster an environment where the views of white supremacists are part of the mainstream discourse. In doing so, we will plant the seeds of division, hate and violence in Aotearoa, that flourish in America under Trump.

 

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