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Council censors anti-bypass campaigners

27 February, 2004

Council censors anti-bypass campaigners

Wellington Green MP, Sue Kedgley is appalled that the Wellington City Council is effectively suppressing political dissent by banning the distribution of material about the "Bypass" at this weekend's Cuba Carnival.

Cuba Carnival organisers have told local lobby group, Campaign for a Better City (CBC) and the Green Party that their contract with the City Council prohibits the distribution of any political material during this weekend's event.

"This is a basic freedom of speech issue," Ms Kedgley said. "Why one earth would the Council prohibit political material at a carnival? Carnivals have traditionally have been places where political opinion and dissent are expressed.

"The carnival is a great occasion for Wellingtonians to get together and enjoy a unique part of their city," said Ms Kedgley, herself a former city councillor. "It is appalling that the council is suppressing the rights of community groups to speak out about the Bypass.

"It is bizarre that the Council is trying to restrict political expression in a public space. We are supposed to be living in a democratic community which protects our rights to freedom of speech and expression. We are not living under the Taleban.

"The council is effectively using its financial clout over the carnival organisers to censor any kind of dissenting voice against the Bypass project."


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