Thursday, May 6, 2021

It's official: free speech gets union protection

I'm publishing the following press statement from the newly launched Free Speech Union verbatim. I applaud the energy and initiative of the people behind the FSU. In my lifetime, freedom of expression has never been so endangered as it is today. Needless to say, I'll be signing up and I urge followers of this blog to consider doing the same.  

The Free Speech Coalition is relaunching as a trade union under the name “Free Speech Union” and has successfully registered under the Employment Relations Act. 

“That name is not ironic”, says Dr David Cumin, a founding member of the Union’s Council. “We think it says crisply just what is now needed to defend freedom of speech. We need to stand with people being intimidated, cancelled, de-platformed, piled on by social media, doxxed and threatened with bankruptcy if they seek legal protection. 

“Becoming a bona fide union is important because defending freedom of speech has come to need the collective solidarity, the mutual support, the kind of activism that made labour unions so important over 100 years ago. 

“For the last two years, the Free Speech Coalition has been campaigning to prevent the growth of anti-free speech case law and legislation. The Coalition was founded in response to statements by the Auckland Mayor and actions of his Council in banning two controversial speakers from hosting a talk at a publicly owned venue. The founding members of the Coalition saw the greatest threat to New Zealand’s tolerant and diverse culture of free public discourse as coming directly from the power of the state.  

“But over the past few years, it has been impossible to ignore the rise of a culture of intolerance of free speech,” says Dr. Cumin. “We have seen it expressed in the increasingly frequent instances of people suffering employment consequences for perfectly legitimate expressions of free speech. 

"The University of Canterbury dragged one of their academics through a lengthy disciplinary process for a paper critical of New Zealand Universities’ connections to the Chinese Government. A high school teacher was doxed by a blogger and investigated by his employer for wearing a MAGA hat at an Auckland BLM rally. An Auckland Transport staffer was harassed and intimidated on social media for a comment on a private Facebook group. 

“We’ve seen too many examples of people being ‘shut down’ for controversial views. We must defend the rights of workers to be able to express their personal beliefs without the threat of losing their job. We need to promote a culture of tolerance, including for those we disagree with. A flourishing civil society, where all New Zealanders feel they can contribute their ideas and engage in robust and even controversial debate, is only possible when employers know that disciplining workers for stepping out of line is not an option. 

“If you fear being punished by your employer for exercising your right to free speech, if you feel you may be targeted by the media or online mobs for comments expressed in a personal capacity, if a petition could be launched calling for you to be fired; or if you want to help protect those that might be, then join the Free Speech Union today.”

New Zealanders who agree with the Union's Statement of Values are encouraged to join, support, or volunteer via


Trev1 said...

As an early member of the Coalition and a continuing regular donor I'm now proud to be a member of the "Union". There is a wonderful irony here, as we "unionists" may soon find ourselves at loggerheads with the Labour government should it introduce its unnecessary, unjustified and draconian "hate speech" law. Every mass movement needs a marching song: "You Don't Get Me I'm Part of the Union" by the Strawbs would serve us well I think :

hughvane said...

The irony of this development is absolutely gorgeous! Mr Andrew Little, the previous Labour Min of Justice, a relentless proponent of curbing freedom of speech with his (& others') Hate Speech laws, is an old-school union member and advocate.

Could he ever have envisaged that unionism could develop into protection of people's democratic right to express themselves freely, responsibly, but without fear/risk of persecution/prosecution? We await further developments (grinning from ear to ear).

Johnston said...

This makes sense. There's unionism behind the radical censorship brigade.

Paparoa, the anonymous "anti-racist" organisation we have heard quite a lot about, is run by Peter Hall-Jones, the leader of the New Unionism Network (

Peter Hall-Jones is a fast friend of Pyongyang and apparently an enemy of free speech:

Andrew little is a member of NUN, incidentally. Did he know that the head of NUN was behind Paparoa and anonymous tips about online hate when he responded to a declared failure of the intelligence services to detect a threat to a mosque the other week?

We should be very concerned about the backgrounds and associations of the people who seek to control our speech, and what they do in the shadows.

Hilary Taylor said...

Me too. Clever move.

Karl du Fresne said...

Blog readers should note that I can't vouch for the statements made above by "Unknown".

Johnston said...


the website, when it was still up (it's now down), sat in the same server space as other websites set up by Hall-Jones, including the website for Toucan Media (, Hall-Jones company that does work for the World Health Organization and Pfizer:

Intrigued by these connections I subsequently found that Mr Hall-Jones apparently has further cross-interests in the digital and health space as director of the company "Medical Passport Limited":

Doug Longmire said...

Have read your article right now Karl, and I have signed up !!!

Johnston said...

Meet New Zealand's little-known disinformation Czar, avowed Marxist and hater of white men:

She seems to have had quite a bit to do with the Covid-19 response. She works for the same weird QUANGO that Siouxsie Wiles works for,

The $500,000 Prime Minister’s Science Prize was awarded to the University of Auckland’s Te Punaha Matatini in relation to Covid work.

The public doesn't know about these organisations, but read what they say an these people seem to want to radically change everything very quickly without running it by New Zealanders. And they seem to be involved in some pretty big decision-making:

Karl du Fresne said...

I'm unable to verify "Unknown's" statement that the person he refers to is a disinformation czar and hater of white men, but have published it on the assumption that it is the commenter's sincerely held belief. I'm unable to make much sense of the cited exchange on Twitter, but that's not unusual. Most comments on Twitter might as well be written in Swahili.