Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wendy Geus: A moment of silence please for the death of free speech

Russell Rimmington, former Chair of Waikato Regional Council, is the first major casualty of the Government’s radical He Puapua policy. He was sacked for having an opinion, contrary to the politically correct view of the day. When discussing the polarising Three Waters policy earlier this year, he dared to express concerns over:

“Māori gaining control of water and that farmers and horticulturalists could be at their “beck and call”.

Some of his colleagues stated that the comment was ‘racist’. Really? Isn’t giving one race power over another racist?

No one dares state that, or contradict ‘The Word’: the (unspoken) established belief brought about by enforced silence through fear of being politically incorrect and out of step with the (so called) mainstream New Zealand view; this includes the intelligentsia, the Labour Government and in particular their Māori caucus, and of course most of the compliant media to anyone opposing He Puapua.

When Rimmington’s ‘offensive’ comments came out there was no discussion in the media as they accepted what he had said was indeed "racist".

For Rimmington it was a case of sorry, not sorry. He initially apologised and almost grovelled (and I cringed) and agreed to go on a course to learn to eradicate his own point of view and express the politically correct view, (or be called a racist, presumably). Then he later doubled down on his point of view which led to his demise.

This is the sort of thing that goes on in autocratic countries, and is rearing its ugly head here.

No doubt the PM would regard his comments as hate speech; Rimmington was criticizing her beloved He Puapua. If it differs from her own view and her radical policies she happens to be peddling at the moment, it must be… hate speech, racist or disinformation.

In the United States the Democrats have quickly established a Ministry of Disinformation, (renamed Ministry of Truth by the Republicans) in fear of free speech roaming wild and free since Elon took over Twitter.

Rimmington, outspoken and polarising, hasn’t helped his cause with his doubling down on the Te Huia slow train to Auckland which is hemorrhaging money and his opposition to the Sleepyhead housing development, which has now gone ahead; giving his opponents plenty of ammunition to muddy the waters saying it never was just about Three Waters.

Of course it is. It is an emotional and political decision. He has been bullied out of his job, by 8 votes to 6 for daring to oppose the prescribed views.

A number of councillors spoke against ousting Rimmington with Councillor Quayle, who replaces Rimmington as Chair, actually voting against his removal.

“What is the crime that Russ is guilty of?” asked another councillor.

The answer: Having the wrong point of view which differs from the politically accepted one of the day… And daring to express it!

However, Russ Rimmington is speaking for many of his constituents and the majority of New Zealanders and his courage will be rewarded when next year an (almost certain) new National/Act government will reverse Three Waters, not due to start until 2024 in any case.

He wasn’t sacked for the slow train to Auckland, debacle though it is; but for having the wrong point of view over Three Waters. He was in effect bullied out of his job.

So, a moment of silence please for the official death of free speech in New Zealand.

Wendy Geus is a former speechwriter and generalist communications advisor in local government. She now writes for the pure love of it. This article was originally published by and is published here with kind permission.


Janine said...

Wendy, there are many of us speaking up. What you probably mean is there are no politicians prepared to speak up.

Barry Eaton said...

What skills have the Maori got with water control that the non Maori haven't? Just look at what they had before the colonisation. Zero.

Anonymous said...

Free speech soon to e confined to history.

Robert Arthur said...

On the matter of maori control, a submission to the recent Auckland Regional Parks Management Plan makes, along with much else the points:

"The fundamental situation is that any co governance, partnership, or even significant consultation role for maori effectively ensures control by maori.

In any supposedly balanced arrangement maori invariably act as a united bloc, often apparently under the direction of motu wide coordinated outsider academic activists. It only takes one of the balancing party to side with maori and maori effectively have total control. Often many, irrespective of the lack of merit of proposals, side with maori for various reasons; family and friendship ties, response to msm and RNZ propaganda, susceptibility to relentless brainwashing, business considerations, seduction by flattery, by physical fear, desire to conform with in-fashion employer policy etc.

But the overwhelming influence is the fact that anyone of substance daring to question or counter maori is automatically accused of being racist. They then suffer cancellation, and all the economic and social deprivation associated. Hence unless entirely independent, hardly anyone in public office, public service, business, employment ever now dares to question maori proposals."

The definitive example of misuse of shared power is the Tupuna Maunga Authority in Auckland

Anonymous said...

Shades of Animal Farm methinks!!
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others?

Ted said...

It seems to be demanded that 'Silence is Golden' for all four seasons.