Free speech papers filed in Auckland court

The Free Speech Coalition was formed after Auckland mayor Phil Goff said he wouldn’t allow two right wing Canadians to speak at any council owned venue, and Auckland Live cancelled their booking. $50 thousand was raised, and now papers have been filed in court.


The Free Speech Coalition has now filed proceedings against Mayor Goff and Auckland Council under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

This came after the Coalition presented the Mayor with an open lettersuggesting he avoid the cost of litigation by reopening discussions with the promoters of the event in question.

The open letter outlined:
• The Council declined to discuss security concerns with organisers or Police prior to Phil Goff’s tweet.
• There was no time pressure justification for the Council’s sudden, uninformed decision.
• So far no privately-owned venues in Auckland have been found to be available or suitable in such a short time frame.
• In Australia, all but one of the venues hosting the speakers are owned by local councils or state government. There is no reason for Auckland to be an outlier.
• The Council has left the Coalition with no other option but to seek urgent judicial relief.
The Coalitions gets the impression the Mayor is eager for the Police to say they can’t uphold their duty to keep the piece and protect free speech – a sad contrast with Australia that we never expected.

Coalition member Melissa Derby says, “The Council’s arbitrary and uninformed decision making process suggests bias, prejudgment, and indifference to the fundamental freedoms outlined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. It’s regrettable to see the Mayor digging his heels in when we have given him every opportunity to reconsider and avoid litigation costs.”

David Cumin, a member of the Coalition and also a plaintiff in the proceedings, says, “Despite his earlier tweets, Mr Goff now claims it wasn’t about banning the speakers because of their political views, but about safety. What he risks is delivering a ‘heckler’s veto’, where potential protesters get to decide who Aucklanders can hear from or associate with.”

“This action is to ensure that politicians and officials aren’t allowed to discriminate against views they dislike when it comes to ratepayer-funded venues, regardless of how broadly ‘unacceptable’ the views might be.”

The plaintiffs in this action are:
• Axiomatic Media – the promoters of the Southern/Molyneux event.
• Malcolm Bruce Moncrief-Spittle – a bookseller living in Dunedin.
• David Cumin – an Auckland ratepayer and member of the Free Speech Coalition.

The defendants are:
• Regional Facilities Auckland (Auckland Live)
• Auckland Council
• Mayor Phil Goff

The statement of claim and application for urgency and interim orders are available here and here.


There is plenty of counter ammunition being found in relation to members of the Coalition having dubious free speech positions in the past, but that shouoldn’t preclude them for championing principles of free speech now.

There is an interesting legal point here – whether a democratic local body should choose who can’t use public facilities based on opinions on what might be said in the future.

It can also be argued that it’s a waste of money, especially council money, taking it to court, but legal action is an option in our relatively free society, so that’s a choice open to whoever wants to do it – at risk of costs being awarded against them if they fail.

12 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  July 18, 2018

    It can … be argued that it’s a waste of money, especially council money, taking it to court, but legal action is an option in our relatively free society, so that’s a choice open to whoever wants to do it – at risk of costs being awarded against them if they fail.

    I think it’s a case that needs to be taken. Being able criticise religions is fundamental to being able to help people understand how to critically evaluate & choose to leave them. Or to explains & justify what they believe when the Holy Books are riddled with errors and hate speech.

    It’s vital for Muslims to understand that it’s possible, and permissable, in a society like ours to hate the religion, but not the people. I do not hate Muslims. I want them to see Islam for what it really says, because it’s logically, factually, scientifically, & morally wrong.

    We don’t know what else they were going to speak about but if it was about that – that’s fine. We should be happy to debate these things.

    And if it was about stopping sudden influxes of mass Illegal immigration by thousands of people from a different culture, that’s fine too. We don’t have, and aren’t likely to have, such a problem with mass illegal immigration.

    If feminazism, then fine. There IS such a thing. White privilege/ anti-white racism? Fine. There IS such a thing. It doesn’t make any other kind of racism ok – but you can’t just sweep it under the carpet. Needs an airing.

    And if it’s about bullshit – that’s also fine, because anyone that would even be bothered to listen to them csn be to,d snd shown anything that’s bullshit.

    As its happened, I’ll bet any money that far more people have now checked out this pair’s YouTube channels & heard them than if they were just akowed to come in, say whatever they wanted to say (we don’t know).

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 18, 2018

    Certainly Goff’s claim that protest threats are the reason to ban speakers is untenable. He seems to be talking himself into more trouble.

  3. Blazer

     /  July 18, 2018

    they can try and undermine Goff as much as they like..he’s not Labour…he’s a Blair sellout.

  4. Corky

     /  July 18, 2018

    Bring it on. I bet Goff didn’t expect this in his wildest dreams. As council legal cots go up; Goffs reelection chances go down. Excellent.

    • Corky

       /  July 18, 2018

      *costs*

      • Gezza

         /  July 18, 2018

        cots worked ok too. Hope it causes a few sleepless nights and some of them have to bed down as they work thru the night to figure out whether can they prevent the anti-free-speecher’s toy Goff from being tossed out.

  5. -D

     /  July 18, 2018

    I emailed all the Auckland Councillors with my complaint re the ban and only two replied…Desley Simpson and Christine Fletcher. Both state the council was not consulted by the Mayor.

    • Corky

       /  July 18, 2018

      Oh, Boy!! -D, you are now A+ for providing that good piece of news. That means some councillors will be very unhappy behind the scenes.

  6. sorethumb

     /  July 18, 2018

    There is plenty of counter ammunition being found in relation to members of the Coalition having dubious free speech positions in the past, but that shouoldn’t preclude them for championing principles of free speech now.
    ………..
    Don Brash and Te Reo. This wasn’t about “speech” it was about language. there is a difference between say Molyneauxs views on race and IQ and wasting people’s time on their news program with unmandated social engineering (“let’s all learn to speak Te Reo”).

    • Gezza

       /  July 18, 2018

      That’s partly true about Brash & te reo & Molyneux’s revampired outdated reasearch on race & IQ has been well debunked, & that’s all that people need to be shown if he spouts that crap.

  1. Free speech papers filed in Auckland court — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition