Thursday, February 11, 2021

Police swoop on hateful bulldozer

 I was going to blog on this but Stephen Franks and the Free Speech Coalition have done it for me. Stephen’s statement draws attention to yet another of the multiple attacks being mounted on freedom of expression. (Note the Stuff story’s warning about an “offensive image”. Good grief.)

A complaint regarding an allegedly “offensive and racist” sign led to a visit from the police. The Marlborough man was ordered to cover the sign. Under what power? There is no offence of causing people to be offended – yet. We can thank our forebears for the essential principle that freedom of expression means nothing if it does not protect the speaker from those claiming to be offended. The handwritten sign was perfectly legal. 

Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Stephen Franks says “Whoever took this 'initiative' in the police should be told to pull their head in. The definition of a free country is being able to express your opinion on your own property without having cops knocking at your door.

“The way to deal with a sign you don’t like is to make your own sign, not call the police.

“The council claim this sign breached a bylaw against road signage clutter. That is patent nonsense. It was no more distracting than graffiti, and much less than the numerous Marlborough signs desperately seeking patrons for cellar doors, restaurants and accommodation. The assertion is a serious abuse of Council power, without regard to the protection for free speech in the NZ Bill of Rights Act.  

"I was in Parliament when we considered Council powers. With Nandor Tanczos, I managed to have the Local Government Act amended to prohibit by-laws which conflict with the Bill of Rights. The sign is not 'threatening, abusive or insulting,' which is the threshold for our offence of Racial Disharmony, in the Human Rights Act.”

“Is this is a trial run for police power to crush ‘non-crime hate incidents'  - a UK practice? Our useless Human Rights Commission is now chaired by an imported UK Corbyn acolyte, here to help Minister Little bring in his hate-speech law. FSC fears that our HRC will seek police powers to investigate, record and threaten people for ‘incidents of hate’ that are nevertheless legal. 
"This was ruled out by the Royal Commission on Hate Speech Laws for the very reason that such a practice is a massive, unwarranted expansion of police powers over people’s ability to speak freely. Minister Little, what do you say about the police harassment of the Marlborough Man?" 

Amen to all that.


Odysseus said...

The Police are seriously out of line here. Well done the Free Speech Coalition. As for the Corbynite at the head of the Human Rights Commission, it is astounding that he is still there after the damning judgement delivered on Corbyn's British Labour Party for anti-Semitism by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission last year.

Doug Longmire said...

Well - the Police have really blown it this time !!
Absolutely agree with you Odysseus. You have said it for me.
Also - BLM, black Lives Matter, is a self proclaimed Marxist organization which has amongst it's many aims, the destruction of the Western family unit. This is a racist organization.

The question is this - how is ALM offensive, when we have seen TV footage of BLM racist riots against a background of shattered & looted shops, and burning police stations. I find this offensive, but really, I have to suck it up - because as objectional as their views are, BLM are have the right to voice their opinions.

Unknown said...

The sign could easily be considered insulting. I'm not sure how that could be missed.

Chris Morris said...

there are signs and posters and slogans that I consider insulting. But so? There is no law against not hurting other people's feelings. There are currently specific legal terms for stuff that goes too far. The bulldozer blade slogans meet none of those criteria. I gather you know this that is why you can't specify anything.

Hilary Taylor said...

I'm reprising Chris M and Karl said it...we can be insulted, offended, patronised, manipulated, saddened, emboldened, cheered, depressed, uplifted, confused, perturbed, spooked, scared, denigrated, affronted, get my drift...none of which is ILLEGAL...YET! Libel & defamation are or might be...and we have remedies. This is all NUTS.

CXH said...

It would seem being outraged, often on behalf of others, is the way of the world these days. Then the idea is to punish the person that outraged you, usually driven by social media.

It would be interesting to know how this period of our development is viewed in the future. There is a possibility that the outraged win and it is seen as the beginning of some utopian society.

Unfortunately it is more likely to be the beginning of our downfall as we become weak and rudderless, to afraid to speak, thus letting a tyrant quietly take over. Freedoms become a historical oddity that it is dangerous to discuss.

Chris Morris said...

Someone chalked "Islam is right about women" on the pavement outside one of the mosques in ChCh. The police investigated and the man appears to have been cautioned.
I gather this is used as an example of hate speech they want to stop. Now can anyone tell me how this offended Muslims?

transpress nz said...

It's astonishing that someone considered a chalked message endorsing Islamic teaching outside a mosque to be 'racist', but even more astonishing that the police would even bother with it. On the other hand, if you have a burglary or vandalism to your property to report, unless you have the right skin colour, the police response may not be so assiduous. The big problem for those who make such frivolous complaints is that 'racist!' will steadily lose its impact/significance and the complainants will be viewed as disturbed cranks.

Chris Morris said...

This is where we will end up if hate speech laws are enacted.
120000 incidents and not one crime. Think of the waste of police resources wasted investigating these incidents