A group of 27 high-profile New Zealanders, including unlikely allies such as Don Brash and Dame Tariana Turia, have penned an open letter warning freedom of speech is under threat in the country’s universities.
It also insists debate must not be suppressed because the ideas put forth “are thought by some or even by most people to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed”.
It comes after a group called the European Students Association at Auckland University wasclosed downafter threats to its members and accusations of racism. Its leaders had denied it was racist.
The letter also follows Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy’s February call fora review of ”hate speech” lawand Police Commissioner Mike Bush suggesting an examination of the pros and cons of a specific crime.(more…)
ANALYSIS: In hindsight, Sir Peter Leitch probably wishes he’d smiled and waved as he passed Lara Wharepapa Bridger and her family at the Waiheke Island vineyard but New Zealand is better off because he opened his mouth.
When the Mad Butcher made comments to Bridger about Waiheke being “a white man’s island” he sparked a race row.
After a few days of going backward and forward, the sensible majority can now agree stupid things were said - stupid, racist things.
The day after Bridger posted a public video about what happened, Leitch’s publicist Michelle Boag (also the former National Party president)took a spade and dug herself into the hole Leitch had started to scratch out for himself.
Meanwhile, Kiwis debated whether Leitch’s comments were racist or just a joke. (more…)
Last week the Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy wrote an open letterto all New Zealanders. She wants to hear your views on racism in New Zealand. The letter is part of the Human Rights Commission’s first nationwide anti-racism campaign.
Dame Susan says theThat’s Uscampaign, which asks Kiwis to share their own stories about “racism, intolerance and hatred” in New Zealand, is about “the kind of people we want to be”, and “the kind of country we want our kids growing up in”.
If you would like to reply to Dame Susan’s letter to you, her email address is SusanD@hrc.co.nz– or feedback can be provided through the special websitewww.thatsus.co.nz.
The Human Rights Commission has justified the campaign on the basis that New Zealand is an extremely diverse society, and since diverse societies elsewhere have become more racially intolerant, they expect it to occur here too. With around 400 formal complaints about racism received every year, the Commission wants public feedback: “if we’re going to better understand racism then we need to know what it is” – which in itself seems extraordinary!
In particular, they highlight “casual” or “quiet” racial intolerance – the type that they say occurs in everyday life and often goes unreported. As an example they cite the case of a woman registering students at a university, who “smiles at every other student but the brown ones”.
Clearly this campaign is an exercise in redefining racism to become substantially wider than what most rational people would assume it to be. It is a further example of the arrant nonsense emanating from the Race Relations Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission. (more…)
This is the speech I delivered almost in its entirety in my capacity as special commentator, along with Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, at Monday night’s semi-final in the intra-university Next Generation Debates series at Auckland University. I say “almost in its entirety” because a gaggle of Muslims became very vocal near the end of my speech and demanded, successfully, I be stopped at once for having gone over my allocated time. The point at which I was shut down is noted in the text below.
What a member of Young New Zealand First called “magnificent pandemonium” followed, with epithets flying back and forth, Dame Susan waiving her right of rebuttal and storming off from the table we were both sharing. (more…)
On 1 September 2016 the Human Rights Commission hosted the Diversity forum at Te Papa, Wellington. The forum explored many avenues within cultural diversity addressing the following questions:
·What challenges do we see in our everyday lives?
·What kind of future do we want for Aotearoa?
·What can we do now to safeguard the future?
The forum featured a range of diverse and inspiring speakers who addressed the above questions. The keynote speaker Deng Adut held the breath of the audience as he told his heartfelt story proving that humanity can always triumph over inhumanity. Deng Adut said that racism is a disease and needed to be eradicated and that people needed to be empowered to rise to this occasion. (more…)
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