Gendall ruled that the government’s decision to allow Parker into New Zealand to speak at rallies in Auckland and Wellington was lawful.
As Jonathan Ayling of the Free Speech Union says, it was the only right result for a country that values tolerance, free speech and the ability to debate.
While the Crown Law Office argued that Parker should be allowed in, Roderick Mulgan of the FSU pointed out that the government’s lawyers concentrated their argument on whether her visit raised the risk of harm. Mulgan said the right to freedom of speech needed to be factored in too.
Gendall was under pressure to make a quick decision, and he did. Parker was due to arrive in the country this afternoon.
The judge said the application by those opposing Parker’s visit failed for technical and procedural reasons. He suggested one factor was that he had no opportunity to hear from Parker herself. He will give the full reasons for his decision in writing later.
It will be interesting to see where free speech sits in his reasoning, assuming it features at all. What will worry the FSU is that Gendall said he had considerable sympathy with the application and the issues of public order that were raised.
I’m no lawyer, but I would have thought it was open to the judge to strike out the action as frivolous and vexatious.
The groups that opposed the government’s decision to allow Parker into New Zealand cited likely harm and risk to public order. But if there's any threat of confrontation at Parker’s rallies, it's likely to have been entirely created – incited wouldn’t be too strong a word – by supporters of those same groups.
Had they ignored the British feminist and anti-trans activist, she might have come and gone with hardly anyone being any the wiser. It’s the LGTBQI+ activists, backed by opportunist politicians and hysterical media, who have whipped up an atmosphere of impending havoc.
The implications for free speech were obvious. To have caved in to the demand that Parker be barred would have reinforced the message that all anyone has to do to get a speaker cancelled is to threaten disruption – a ploy that the courts have done little to deter.
The lawyer for the rainbow and transgender groups opposing Parker’s visit said there was evidence (supplied, no doubt, by the public-spirited people at the unimpeachably reliable Disinformation Project) that far-Right and neo-Nazi groups were planning to attend Parker’s rallies in New Zealand.
Well, we shall see. If the attention-seeking baboons of the far-Right do turn out, it will almost certainly be because their interest has been aroused by the grandstanding of the attention-seeking rainbow and transgender lobbies and their political allies.
You have to admit, it’s an innovative approach: create the setting for public disorder, then rush to court squealing that it mustn’t be allowed to happen. In different circumstances, you could almost admire their chutzpah.
Karl du Fresne, a freelance journalist, is the former editor of The Dominion newspaper. He blogs at karldufresne.blogspot.co.nz.