Responding to reports of Palmerston North City Council’s $30,000 legal bill as it sought to block a group from hosting an event at a public library, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
“How can the council possibly say it has ‘no opinion’ on the costs it incurred? That’s a disturbing lack of penance in the face of such a damning court judgment. Is the council’s position that it has learned no lessons here?”
“Crs Rachel Bowen, Lorna Johnson and Aleisha Rutherford need to acknowledge that they screwed up and imposed unnecessary costs on ratepayers by attempting to shut down an event that shouldn’t have even been a blip on their radar. Their unlawful actions have cost ratepayers."
“Local councils across the country should take the High Court’s decision as a warning. Council-owned venues can be used by all ratepayers and can't be used by ideologues to de-platform political groups they don't agree with.”