Phil Goff bans Right wing speakers from talking in Council venues

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Friday, 6 July 2018, 5:00p.m.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has banned a controversial Canadian pair from speaking at Auckland Council venues. Photo/ Getty Images
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has banned a controversial Canadian pair from speaking at Auckland Council venues. Photo/ Getty Images

The promoter of a controversial Canadian pair accused of hate speech has cancelled their tour of New Zealand after Auckland Mayor Phil Goff denied them access to city venues.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux hold far-right views on topics ranging from feminism and immigration to Islam.

Ms Southern was banned from entering the UK earlier this year for her part "in the distribution of racist material in Luton", according to the BBC.

The Canadian couple had been due to speak next month at the council-owned Bruce Mason centre on Auckland's North Shore.

Pressure had been mounting on Immigration NZ to deny the pair entry with members of New Zealand's Muslim community and the Auckland Peace Action publicly among those expressing concern.

But promoter David Pellowe said the tour was instead cancelled when Goff moved to bar the pair access to Auckland Council venues.

He told Newstalk ZB there were no other venues available at this late stage and that all tickets would have to be refunded.

Goff minutes earlier tweeted that council venues shouldn't be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions in a city that's multicultural, inclusive and embraces people from all faiths and ethnicities.

"Views that divide rather than unite are repugnant, and I have made my views on this very clear. Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux will not be speaking at any council venues.

"Let me be very clear, the right to free speech does not mean the right to be provided with an Auckland Council platform for that speech."

But Bellowes said Goff's move to prohibit government property for use for "conservative ideas" was political.

"He has misrepresented the nature of the event the speakers and so on," he said.

"Far from being willing to engage in a robust contest of ideas, he finds it far simpler to shut down any ideas he disagrees with."

Bellowes described the decision as very disappointing for "freedom and democracy."

"I would hope the residents of Auckland - those right of Stalin - remember this come election time," he said.

Calling Southern and Molyneux "alt-right fascists", Auckland Peace Action member Valerie Morse earlier promised to confront their supporters on the streets and blockade their speaking venues.

"Lauren Southern was refused entry to the United Kingdom for distributing racist material. She is the mouthpiece for violent anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant actions," Morse said.

"She even boarded a boat in the Mediterranean that shot flares at medical boats seeking to rescue refugees who were drowning in the water."

Morse said she was concerned right-wing extremism was reaching into "our communities through sophisticated propaganda and subversive strategies" in a way that could ultimately lead to acts of violence.

"It is imperative that this type of racism is given no room to be promoted and encouraged in Aotearoa."

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