As a counter to the incorrect view promoted by the Mainstream Media that Trump supporters are exclusively white supremicists and that blacks all support Biden and the Democrats, here is the latest commentary by Jericho Green, who obviously has no time for the ‘Woke’ Brigade and the Democrats. The MSM won’t tell you that black voter support for Trump actually increased last November. Like all conservatives he is worried about being deplatformed by the Tech Giant cartel.
Free Speech is as big as all the other problems combined, because it’s the key to solving them. We must protect it from so-called hate speech laws the Government is threatening this year.
To give them credit, the Government recognizes a real problem. There are too many people saying too many nasty things, too often, to too many people. We should all work on, as the Queen says, “speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.” But, empowering a Government department to go around punishing ‘hate-motivated’ speech is impractical and far too open to abuse.
The risk is we lose not only our freedom, but our problem-solving ability. In a healthy culture, you’re allowed to say unpopular things. Judging by her written speeches, Kate Sheppard may have been New Zealand’s best orator, but her views were radical for her time. One of our greatest achievements as a country occurred, and could only have occured, in a culture of free speech.
Of course, Free Speech is important every year. That’s why the CCP never stops censoring the internet. Thing is, this year it’s our Government threatening to censor free speech.
The Minister of Justice wrote a one-page letter to political party leaders in December. He says the Government will crack down on ‘hate-motivated speech.’ Basically, he wants tougher penalties for more kinds of speech than what’s currently in the Human Rights Act.
If we’re going to fight this, we need to know what free speech is and isn’t. Some people think it’s the right to say whatever you want. Some people think it’s the right to have other people to give their time listening to you, or perhaps tweet on their platform.
But who wants to listen to tedious people who claim the right to bore us witless? The problem with all rights is that they only work if someone else plays along. Making speech a right only works if you can make some poor sucker listen.
Free speech is not a right but a freedom. Freedom is the ability to plan your future without others arbitrarily messing with you. When people are in conflict, the rules should be written down and clear so everyone knows what to expect. They should be able to know what the rules are, and the penalties for breaking them.
That’s the rule of law, and we get it from an early age. Try going to any Intermediate school at lunch time, change the rules half way through, and see what happens.
We already have some restrictions on freedom of speech that are compatible with the rule of law. You can’t incite people to commit crimes, you can’t threaten people with violence, you can’t be a nuisance (like shouting fire when there is none).
If you do those things there’s a good chance you’ll be convicted and punished. The maximum punishments are written in the Crimes Act. On the other hand, you also have clear defences, such as ‘I did not make a threat.’ There are other advantages. When the rules are written down, they apply equally to everyone.
That’s why hate speech laws are incompatible with freedom. There’s no way of consistently applying what’s offensive. Take the case of Sean Plunkett, who was fined $3,000 by the Broadcasting Standards Authority for ‘amplifying negative stereotypes about Māori.’ The finding was described as a “huge shock…” by the complainant!
The case shows the problem with hate speech laws. You don’t know if you’ve broken them until you are convicted. Whether other people think your views are offensive or might unreasonably influence others is so bland there’s no real test.
In these shadows operate political prejudice. If you’re in the majority of opinion you are probably safe from hate speech laws. Your views will be accepted. It is minorities who need the protection of free speech.
Hate speech laws, on the other hand, are mob rule. They amount to the popular using the force of the state to silence the unpopular. They lead to conformity of opinion and blandness in life. They make us less human by suppressing our self-expression. They make our society poorer by suppressing the generation of new ideas and criticism of bad ones.
For those reasons, freedom to speak our mind under the protection of the rule of law is the foundation of a free society and should be our main priority. If the Government passes laws that allow punishment on the basis of opinion, ACT will petition for a referendum to reverse those laws. We hope you’ll help.
As we see it, the bigger problem than a government department empowered to punish ‘Wrongthink’ would be people constantly calling the police because they’ve been ‘offended’ by someone. You can’t change people’s attitudes simply by passing a law as Dear Leader & Co. seem to think; that takes time. When it comes to race relations, organisations like the Maori Party, backed by Stuff, do a lot of damage with their deliberate distortions of history and racebaiting. As various writers have repeatedly said on here, racism is enshrined in our laws and removing it is what needs to happen. —Eds
There isn’t much cultural diversity in Waikanae, but Porirua has sizeable Maori and Pasifika communities, and that is reflected in its combined art gallery and museum, Pataka (‘storehouse, depository’). It adjoins the Porirua library in the same complex. For most people it should be within walking distance of the train station.
These are some of the photos Geoffrey and Eva took during a visit last week.
A gallery of 3-D artworks.
Murals in children’s play and discover areas.
As many as 13 people in Israel have suffered from facial paralysis after being administered the Covid-19 vaccine, reports claimed.
According to WION, the Israeli Health Ministry has indicated that the number of people suffering from such side effects after being inoculated for Covid-19 could be higher.
“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person told Ynet adding that he recovered after that.
This comes just days after 23 people died in Norway after receiving Pfizer’s Covid-19 jab. All of them were above the age of 80, Norwegian officials said adding that the matter was being probed.
Apart from the 23 cases many others have also reported severe side effects, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said.
Claimed an ‘expert’ on TV1 today about the deaths in Norway: “they may have succumbed to their underlying illnesses because of the vaccine.” Well, is that not the case with almost all deaths attributed to the virus? In fact, many deaths attributed to the virus have had primary causes unrelated to the virus such as falling off a ladder. —Eds
Great photos taken by Karl Webber.
By Roger Childs
It’s the biggest island in Wellington Harbour and it has had a colourful history. Maori were the first to use the 25 hectare island and two pa were built, however they were used mainly as a refuge during inter-tribal wars, and were never permanently occupied.
In later times it was used as a —
- a lighthouse location on the south coast. It was built in 1866.
- a farm mainly running sheep
- a destination for day trips in the 1860s and 1870s
- a quarantine station for people and later animals
- an internment camp for German aliens and prisoners of war in World War I
- a location for ant-aircraft artillery batteries
- a camp in World War II for German and Austrian New Zealanders, and German, Italian and Japanese prisoners of war. There was also a hospital for sick prisoners.
Maurice Gee has written an excellent novel entitled Live Bodies, centred on life for an Austrian born New Zealander on the island during the Second World War.
It was also called Leper Island by some as there was once a Chinese man on Somes who was confined to a cave. Sadly after he died it was found that he did not have leprosy.
It is now a predator-free scientific reserve run by the Department of Conservation and since 1990s it has been a tourist destination.
Easy to get there and plenty to see
Ferries from Queens Wharf drop off visitors to Somes Island on the way to Days Bay. From Wellington it takes about 25 minutes to get there. It’s $25 for adults and $13 for children, but free for Gold Card holders.
You need to allow at least 2 hours to explore the island. On arrival there is a 20 minute briefing on the protocols of being on Somes. From the wharf there is a significant climb to reach the higher grassy areas where the visitor centre, other historic buildings, the trig station and the gun emplacements are located. Along the way there are a number of display boards detailing the history of the island and providing information on the biodiversity. Much of the island is bush clad and there are plenty of birds, a few sheep and reptiles such as skinks and tuatara.
Changing biodiversity along the many tracks
20 years ago the island was mainly grass with a few pine and macrocarpa areas. However since then volunteers have planted over 100,000 flaxes, bushes and trees.
There are many paths and trails on the island including a circular track that follows the coast in many parts which takes about 45 minutes to complete. The views in all directions, especially from the higher areas, are great.
Back in the 1990s Wairarapa harrier Rod Sutherland lived on the island working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. He found the ups and downs of the trails ideal for marathon training.
Visiting Matiu / Somes Island is well worth the effort, but obviously best in good weather as it is rather wind-swept. Taking a picnic is highly desirable as there are many seats and grassy areas where you can have your lunch.