Mr Batchelor’s meetings have also encountered determined protesters aiming to disrupt them. Surprisingly, this significant development has received little attention from the mainstream media (MSM), who have barely covered it. But when they do, the focus is on the protesters and their perspectives, with minimal coverage given to Mr Batchelor and his supporters.
Gone are the days when the media impartially presented the news, considering diverse viewpoints and upholding the principles of freedom of association and free speech. It appears that our media outlets have failed to recognize the threat to press freedom in this situation.
Our former Prime Minister’s “Christchurch Call” project, which seeks to control extremist online content at first glance is a noble cause. However, in practice it is just another mechanism for controlling speech, cleverly using the dreadful mosque shootings as justification for a further loss of our freedom.
There is no doubt that Jacinda Ardern’s experience in international socialist organisations will have taught her that the success of socialist regimes totally depends on controlling speech. But this is New Zealand – and we value our freedoms.
Whatever your views are on Posie Parker or Julian Batchelor, you should be able to express them freely. Free speech is the bedrock of our democracy and we must protect it. Those who seek to silence dissenting views clearly have little faith in the strength of their argument – or their own agenda.
Our frontline police do a fantastic job protecting the public, but they let themselves, and more importantly Mrs Parker, down badly. Mr Batchelor also claims that the police have put the interests of those who seek to silence him ahead of his right to free speech. We go down a very dangerous road if we allow our police to become politicised.
New Zealanders are fair-minded people who tend not to make a fuss: we don’t openly oppose things that we disagree with because we desperately do not want to be disagreeable. But this quirk of our national persona makes us vulnerable to the ever-creeping loss of our freedoms.
You can stand up against this via the privacy of the polling booth on October 14, and I urge you to do so.
Stuart Smith is a N Z National Party politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives for the Kaikōura electorate since 2014. This article was first published HERE