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Human Rights Commission Demonstrate How They’ve Lost Their Way

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming today’s release by the so-called Human Rights Commission of a previously secret work programme to undermine New Zealander’s freedom of speech online. The HRC announced today that it has created a so-called “Independent Accountability Group” (IAG) to review the NZ Code of Practice for Online Safety and Harms – an initiative led by Netsafe which has the agreement of international social media companies, including Google, Meta and X.

Based on the report released today, HRC’s main contention is with an apparent lack of Treaty context and approach by international social media companies, despite the report itself actually noting the Code’s inclusion of New Zealand’s context and role of the Treaty.

Reacting to the HRC’s release, Jordan Williams, a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Union said:

“Basically, the organisation tasked with protecting New Zealanders’ ability to speak freely has created a group of activists to try and bully private industry to censor any speech that is inconsistent with the HRC’s preferred view and meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi. Orwell couldn’t make this up.

“The HRC is yet again using taxpayers’ money to backdoor fund political activism – literally paying far left campaigners to try and force the likes of Twitter to ‘recognise’ the Treaty, and label inconsistent views as ‘dangerous’. It is disappointing that ACT’s policy to abolish the HRC did not make it into the coalition agreements. This off the reservation work programme by the HRC should make the Government think again.

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“Like the Productivity Commission, the Human Rights Commission sounds like a good idea but it has clearly lost its way. The real tragedy is that its efforts to politicise and force its world view onto social media companies has taken the focus off real harmful content like child sexual exploitation and abuse, bullying and harassment, and incitement of violence.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Disclosure: Jordan is a co-founder and former Secretary General of the Free Speech Union. He recently retired from the trade union’s Council, but serves on its Advisory Council. The views expressed in this media release are on behalf of the Taxpayers’ Union but are not necessarily shared by the Free Speech Union.

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent and membership-driven activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power. Its mission, lower taxes, less waste, more accountability, is supported by 200,000 subscribed members and supporters.

The Taxpayers' Union operates a 24-hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.

 

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