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Activists Seek To Shut Down Gender-critical Event: Tākina Events Must Uphold Speech Rights

Individuals in Wellington, led by City Councillor Nīkau Wi Neera, are working to use the ‘hecklers veto’ to shut down Inflection Point, a gender-critical event to be held at a Te Papa venue this weekend featuring speakers such as Bob McCoskrie and Brian Tamaki. But public venues have a responsibility to respect everyone’s speech rights, even if some find them offensive or provocative, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.

“The Free Speech Union’s work has contributed to case law in New Zealand on public venues and their responsibility to uphold speech rights. Publicly funded venues cannot discriminate on ideological viewpoints. We’ve written to Tākina Events, reminding them of their legal responsibility to uphold speech rights.

“We note Brian Tamaki is one of the speakers at this event and has every right to speak freely. However, it is ironic he’s relying on these rights when he’s recently worked to shut down the voices of those he disagrees with. Censorship tends to backfire.

“We’ve consistently said, when ‘hecklers veto’ is used, we all lose. Inevitably, when we platform a diversity of views, some people will be offended by what’s said. The right response to that is counter-speech: deliberation and debate. Not cancellation.

“Free speech has to work both ways. We insist Tākina Events don’t bow to bullying, and uphold speech rights.”

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