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What happened to free speech at Victoria Uni?

Simon Power MP National Party Tertiary Education Spokesman

08 October 2003

What happened to free speech at Victoria University?

National Party Tertiary Education spokesman Simon Power says he's disappointed that the US Ambassador was denied the opportunity to speak at Victoria University today, after being targeted by protesters.

"Most people would expect Universities to be a shining light in the protection of free speech - but it would seem that a small group decided that is no longer the case.

"Protesters themselves enjoy the rights of free speech and freedom of expression and they shouldn't deny others similar freedoms.

"US Ambassador Charles J Swindells deserved the chance to put his side of the story," says Mr Power.

"Unfortunately those noisy protesters have potentially caused another diplomatic incident that New Zealand could have done without.

"The National Party, which is a staunch advocate for free speech and personal responsibility, hopes this is an isolated incident that won't be repeated.

"Students deserve the opportunity to hear from those on all sides of an argument so they are able to form their own opinions - that's been denied them today," says Mr Power.


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