RNZ embarrass themselves over free speech debate


RNZs recent coverage of the legal fight between Auckland Council and the Free Speech Coalition is pretty shallow and the debate to date has been bewilderingly infantile.

Wellington’s 19th funniest comedian, Raybon Kan, best distills the debate down to anyone supporting free speech is a Nazi. 

The micro-aggression policing call out culture means any communication can be elevated to hate crime status so daring to stand up for free speech is ethically on par with being the administrative staff working at your average sized concentration camp.

Let’s remind everyone what this is actually about, it’s actually about whether or not the Mayor of Auckland has the power to demand speech they don’t like being spoken at a Council venue is actually allowed.

Phil Goff was very self congratulatory about his role in shutting this down, but the Mayor of Auckland doesn’t have that power, and nor should they. The mayor isn’t a feudal lord, they don’t just get to ban things they don’t like from the city gates.

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What if this had been a right wing mayor and the person speaking was someone we all agreed with?

The central issue is does the Lord Mayor have the power to censor views they don’t like by pulling venues. I would have thought the Left would be very clear in stating that none of our political leaders have that kind of power for very good fucking reasons!

But that’s how tribal issues have become now, because it was opinions we didn’t like, it’s easier to agree to abuses of power to justify the ends.

The reason we on the Left should champion Free Speech is because it’s always the Right Wing State that clamps down hard when they gain these powers. Those jeering at Free Speech advocates today will be horribly shocked when the State takes that gag and rams it down our throat tomorrow.

Crypto-fascists like Southern and Molyneux should have been debated so as to debunk their flawed and embarrassing ideology of ignorance, unfortunately the Identity Politics echo chamber Left doesn’t have the confidence to debate the argument and prefer to deplatform and ‘cancel’ than engage and win.

I support free speech because when we limit it, the State always twists it to silence genuine dissidents. Painting that philosophical support as akin to right wing Nazi sympathisers is astonishingly dangerous and short sighted.


  1. The reason that I do not mind crypto fascists is because they are really good at telling half truths, Y’know lying. If some one calls you a bigot or a rascist or cis or transphobic or what ever, there is no way of responding rationally because it isn’t true. No one should have to prove a negative just because the other side takes the neutral position. In my experience proving the negative and winning the argument is extremely difficult to do when you do not have an excellent understanding of the lay of the land you with to speak about. That’s why it’s so difficult to win against people throwing mud because it always sticks, especially when you’re ideologically opposed to throwing mud yourself. It’s just debating or even fist fighting isn’t for everyone but someone’s got to do it.

  2. Martyn: “Wellington’s 19th funniest comedian, Raybon Kan, best distills the debate down to anyone supporting free speech is a Nazi. ”

    Martyn, I happened to read Raybon’s article. Twice. Just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Unless he wrote it in magic ink, he did not liken anyone to being a nazi for supporting so-called “free speech”. Any references to nazism seem to be emanating from your post, not Raybon’s.

    • Eight or nine paragraphs down Rayban said (I seem to remember Kan losing some Raybans this one time, anyway Raybans reckons in the article he wrote):

      “racists, white supremacists, Nazis.”- end quote.

      Perhaps Raybanz should go back and try to write something funny.

  3. I’ve been backing free speech for a long time now and interestingly in my experience there are as many people on the right who are appalled by its erosion as there are those on the left. This makes sense to me as its essentially a human issue that crosses over political divisions. I’ll add that a I have a good number of infractions of free speech and protest from so called left wing governments in this country over the years as well those who are on the right. That said they are all neo liberals in my view and really any claim of left/right seems redundant to me.

    • Free speech is being stolen by the politically correct leftists who will then willingly resort to bullying and/or physical attacks if you’re not buying into the party line.

  4. I often disagree with you but on this you are correct….people have short memories (if any at all) and need to be very careful what they wish for….

    “Those jeering at Free Speech advocates today will be horribly shocked when the State takes that gag and rams it down our throat tomorrow.”

    …for this outcome is a given.

  5. I think it’s more accurate to say Raybon distills the argument down to; you can cross any ethical or moral line if you’re fighting a white supremacist. Ironically enough it’s looking at the situation in a very blinkered way. Destroying a society’s right to free speech in order to stop a white supremacist from talking when there are other ways of dealing with the problem is pretty short sighted as well.

    I see I’ve just described his argument as being short sighted and narrow minded 🙂 Raybon’s a good guy but there is a lot more to see here than just the urgency of annihilating your enemy

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