GUEST BLOG: Philip Patston – The difference between free speech and hate speech


This morning, I saw at least two tweets denouncing the disallowing of conservative rhetoric and hate speech, citing media attention as a reason to turn a blind eye to this kind of right-wing propaganda masked as “free speech”.

Firstly, Chris Trotter argues that anti-Muslim campaigners Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux should have “simply been allowed to come and go without incident” in order to stop the Left from finding “it much harder, now, to sell its arguments in favour of limiting New Zealanders right to free expression”.

Then Danyl Mclauchlan fires a similar missive to Massey University for banning Don Brash, infamous for his anti-Māori speech in Orewa in 2004, from speaking at Massey’s Manawatu campus tomorrow, as part of a series of politics talks.

What the fuck is going on?!

What depraved logic is this? Don’t stand up to separatists and racists because they’ll get media attention? Let myths and untruths about Muslims and Māori be spat out willy nilly and blame those who care for protesting because they might use up precious police resources? Encourage but denounce violence in the name of septic free speech?

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To Trotter and Mclauchlin I say, if you want to blame anyone for making bigots heroes, grow some balls and have the courage to confront the media (especially Trotter who’s part of the media and contributing to what he’s lambasting).

We live in a democracy and, supposedly, a civil society. Free speech is not a licence to say whatever you want. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states the right to free speech carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals” (Wikipedia).

Otherwise, it’s hate speech – “speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” (Wikipedia)

If you don’t know the difference, shut the fuck up.


Philip Patston is one of NZ’s top diversity consultants and Managing Director of 


  1. Monotheism (Christianity and Islam) is hate speech; its sacred texts contain hate speech doctrine, yet these organised hate groups are sanctioned by states and receive tax breaks. One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

    • The Qur’an sanctions the murder of non-believers

      ISIS and other Islamo-fascist operatives are merely orthodox Muslims

      The Qur’an is hate speech.

      It should be banned

      • The problem with you Andy is that you’re selective in pointining out religious extremism. If you were less biased, you’d have a point. Otherwise you’re using your criticism of Islamic fundamentalism as a code for racism against people who are different to you. Thats called RACISM my boy. You really need to grow out of that kind of childish bigotry.

          • Don’t be cute you little toad. You know exactly what you’re doing. You just don’t have the guts to say whats really on your bigotted mind. The height of hypocrisy is when bigots couch their prejudices in human rights terms, but in reality don’t give a shit about human rights. When the issue is raised Andy, you ignore human rights violations in Gaza and the West Bank. You care as much for human rights only when you cloak your racism in it.

        • So no criticism of Islamic fundamentalism is allowed in your little world? You are in effect saying you support misogyny, homophobia and the murder of people who leave Islam.

          • When is the last time you voiced your opposition to misogyny and rape culture HERE IN NEW ZEALAND, Harry? How about never? You and Andy only seem to voice your concerns when islam is concerned. Why is that? Because you’re racist, that’s why.

      • If I had my way I’d like us to stop deferring to all religious doctrines. They’re all irrelevant to modern life, in my opinion.

        (And before y’all go accusing me of hate speech, I’m referring to the doctrines, not those who believe them.

      • It’s only a matter of time before marijuana and homosexuality is normal in New Zealand. Orthodox religions whether it be Islam or Christianriy or Jew are completely intolerant to such things so will not gain a majority in the New Zealand Parliement so must live and let live.

        • “homosexuality is normal in New Zealand”

          If by “normal” I presume you mean tolerated and/or socially acceptable.
          Isn’t it already?

        • Well if abiding by the law and the high court is conservative then it’s hard to get any more conservative than that. There’s illusions to protections for minorities and gays and religion and so on but if you read carefully the legislative frame works don’t guarantee any rights for these things. Citizens of nations may quibble about property rights and what’s fashionable or unfashionable for the day and generally being a bad neighbour. But citizens do not conquer and molest land and subjugate the people, it’s only at the state level can people imagine warfare on the scale of hate speech. And it’s for these reasons why free speech is vigorously policed at the state level and more relaxed amongst the general population.

        • Religion is constrained in NZ because social pressures have not created political extremism where religion is used as a banner under which to fight the ruling classes. Pre1991 it was marxism that rallied the disempowered. After the collapse of the USSR that banner was replaced by religion. Hence why religious-based insurrectiins do not workmin the West, but are commonplace in the Third World.

  2. “If you don’t know the difference, shut the fuck up.”

    This is your diversity consultancy in action, eh?

          • Oh it got my attention alright.

            I reckon that’s the thing here though. The Molyneux & Southern tour, and so too Brash’s speech at Massey: these events would have been ships in the night had the hysteria not been whipped up. Total Streisand effect, it’s probably had three effects beyond the immediacy of getting the show banned.

            1) It has grown their audience among people who would probably not know who there were.

            2) It has emboldened people on the conservative right who aren’t in danger of going far-right, but are now set in their minds that the left is out to get them all.

            3) It has discredited the left on free speech issues, and will weaken our case when next we find someone on our own side engulfed in controversy around the expression of contentious opinions.

            Note that this move against Brash has happened less than a week after the banning of the Canadians. This will be on the minds of the hard left, but also foremost on the minds of the conservative right.

  3. When the Canterbury Museum ran an exhibition featuring a T Shirt with a picture of a Nun masturbating and the words “Jesus is a Cunt” on the other side, is this hate speech?

      • The T shirt specifically said “Is a Cunt” in the present tense, implying that Christ is alive

        Given that, then why is saying “Jesus is a cunt” not hate speech and “Allah is Gay” hate speech?

        If I said “Mohammed was a paedophile, a rapist and a mass murderer”, then that would be a factually true statement. (according to the Hadiths)
        “Jesus is a Cunt” clearly makes little sense since the Christian son of God clearly isn’t a vagina.

        • The real question, Andy, is why you’d want to insult Allah and Mohammed in the first place. If you think “Jesis is a cunt” is offensive, why would you call other historical religious figures similar names? The only reason is because you are being deliberately offensive and inflammatory. In plain english, you’re a bigot.

      • Life is a grey area about which no one shall ever agree… but if you can crush dissent then maybe the people doing the crushing will be happy?

  4. Don’t stand up to separatists and racists because they’ll get media attention?

    No. That’s an extrapolation and not a fair representation of either Trotter’s or Bradbury’s position or those that disagree with S&M but support their right to speak. The question is do they have a right to speak?

    Here’s the tough bit – free speech means we will hear stuff that we don’t like.

    The sound of discordant voices assures me that I’m not living in North Korea.

    As for Folau, if we believe in freedom of religious practice and expression then he is perfectly entitled to his view and expression of it and we are entitled to rebut it and reject it.

    • It’s not OK for Folau to state that gays will not enter the Kingdom of God, but it is OK for a Muslim Iman to enter the UK and ask whether we should kill gays by burning them to death, throwing them off a building, or dropping a wall on them.?

      The latter isn’t hate speech. Raising the issue, however, is. I am guilty of hate speech because killing gays is part of their culture.

    • I think you need to think more about the implications of the responsibilities of the ICCPR.

      Saying publicly, “all homosexuals will go to hell” and “I disagree with homosexuality” are quite different messages.

      • Saying that Gays would be killed is clearly quite different to saying that Gays will not enter the kingdom of God.

        Since you guys don’t believe any of this religious shit anyway, I hardly see why it is offensive

      • I’m assuming (correct me if I’m wrong) that you’d rate “all homosexuals will go to hell” as hate speech.
        Problem is that from Folau’s point of view that was love speech – he was sending a warning not damning them for eternity.

        • The problem with the interpretation that Folau gave to Corinthians is that it condemns all sinners who do not repent to forever be denied the Kingdom of God

          Gays aren’t a special kind of sinner here. Paul was referring to gays alongside adulterers etc. In that sense we are all siners and need to seek repentance and forgiveness

          I don’t see adulterers getting offended, but they aren’t a very visible minority

          Here endeth the sermon

        • “Problem is that from Folau’s point of view that was love speech – he was sending a warning not damning them for eternity.”

          No, he was judging and condemning them for their sexual orientation.

          It’s time christians, jews, and muslims stopped hiding behind theur deities to be bigotted.

          Homophobia is not acceptable during social and political discourse. I fail to understand why “freedom of religion” allows homophobia. Why is religion (ie, a belief in invisible supernatural beings) allowed to spread bigotry, but nit acceptable anywhere else in society?

          FFS, I don’t even believe gods exist!!

  5. People who aren’t lawyers have a better head start because there field of view is not limited. New Zealand’s human rights record is that impressive. We’ve got John Key in Afgahnistan, Helen Clark on the Treaty, Shipley is a banker, Bolger got rolled while overseas, Lange and the ANZUS treaty, Holyoke and Vietnam. Non of these these things are impressive so you don’t have to be very impressive to be offensive.

    Underlying all this, I believe, is a desire to remain allies of America. New Zealand went through great change when the UK no longer wanted to underwrite Nee Zealand security and joined the EU so we quickly had to find some one to protect us from Asia namely The United States. So we shouldn’t be seeking protection from Asia we should be apart of the protective stance of Asia and the pacific. We’ve got APEC coming up and no one wants Indonesia in the Pacific Leaders forums because Indonesia is still up to there dirty tricks. Big powers just don’t want to know about this stuff yet we come out for the littlest of things.

  6. ” This morning I saw at least two tweets denouncing the allowing of conservative rhetoric and hate speech.”[presumeably Philip Patston is referring to Brash]. So , what specifically has Don Brash said that is hate speech? And if he has done so why has he not been prosecuted for doing so? Who apart from Patston claims he is a top Diversity consultant? Patson comes over to me as not being particularly intelligent. He appears to be a blowhard making wild unsubstantiated claims.No one here appears to have a problem with protesters making known their opposition to Brash’s views on various subjects. Where I draw the line is people thinking they have the right to forcibly stopping him from speaking.In the U.S. the BDS movement has been effectively barred from speaking on University campuses by fascist elements threatening to violently disrupt the meeting. The University authorities have responded by refusing to have the BDS on campus because of “security concerns”.Does this sound familiar Philip? So a violent element gets to censor speech, and freedom of speech is trampled into extinction by a jack booted mob! Please explain Mr.Diversity consultant how this scenario increases diversity???

    • .I’m with you Pete. I don’t need anybody to tell me what and who I can listen to, nor how I should respond to them.

      I’ve been around a long while, seen a lot, but never anyone on my side (the Left) so wimpish and soft as today’s woke Left. When they deplatform its because they don’t have the guts to take on opposing ideas head on . They have no faith in the power of their ideas, probably because this oppressor victim dialogue is pathetic. The woke Left have rejected their own culture in favour of diversity (yes it’s no longer in the diverse mix), they follow a narrative that sees the world as merely a Manichean conflict of good versus evil, no shades of grey, or perhaps view the world through acceptance and tolerance.

      Now I’ve had a rant, here’s what happens next. The Right will get re-elected, and they will drop funding for university departments where the woke Left ideas are propagated. That’s a real platforming, no spreading those ideas at our expense will say the Nats. Lots of sociologists will be down to WINZ to view it first hand. They will also repeal hate speech legislation, put the cops onto protesters. We will be back to square one because rather than tolerate alternate views the woke Left got too big for their boots. Does that scenario make you happy?

      • Chris Hipkins better double time those educations reforms. Personally I blame university faculty for letting people like Steven Joyce and John Key through, possibly even Phill Goff and the rest of the woke left. It’s just one big Ponzi scheme really. They’re just getting payed to push debt onto kids / students.

    • My business is about supporting people who get diversity to increase its value in their business and their lives. You’re not a prospective client, @Pete. You don’t factor in my marketing budget. Busines is business, diversity and all. I ain’t no charity.

  7. Back to your blog Philip, I totally agree, thanks. Its pretty simple to understand really, so what n the hell is all the bullshit about, I just don’t get it.

  8. “…shut the fuck up”

    I suppose this isn’t technically hate speech but seriously, you need to take a deep breath every time you feel the need to write this in a blog post.

    Incidentally the word ‘woke’ is terribly misused. If we’re only awake to other people’s dysfucntion but not to our own, then we’re not really awake.

    Pointing the finger at other people’s sins is easy and it saves us from facing up to our own problems. I’ve done as much of this as anyone in my life but if we can’t debate people with respect then we’re no better than Southern and Molyneux – and at the moment I see a lot of people taking the chance to lash out at someone.

    Here’s a guy who shames us all with his example of grace and decency, A black American who befriended a leader of the KKK:

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