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Free Speech Coalition on details of legal action

Statement by Free Speech Coalition on details of legal action

The Free Speech Coalition can confirm it will this week be filing judicial review proceedings against Auckland Council for its ban on two Canadian speakers from Council-owned venues. The pro-free speech group believes the Council and/or Mayor acted in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

Today the group’s lawyers are writing to the Council to clarify the Mayor’s conflicting statements to media about whose decision it was to ban the speakers, and the reasons for the ban.

The Free Speech Coalition undertook to refund any and all donations if the $50,000 target was not reached before 5pm Friday. In fact, the group exceeded the target by more than 50 percent, with the original fundraising target raised within 24 hours of the group's launch last Monday afternoon. The additional funds have enabled the group to engage Jack Hodder QC, who will be lead counsel. The instructing solicitors will be specialist public lawyers Franks Ogilvie.

Action is expected to be taken for breaches under both the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (freedom of expression) and the Human Rights Act (freedom from political discrimination).

As of today, the Coalition has received donations from 1,061 donors, ranging from $3 to $5,000. Seventy-five per cent of the amount raised is from donations of less than $300.

ENDS

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