What happened about the two alt right Canadian speakers? Did they come to New Zealand?
Yes, they did, but the public meeting to hear them speak was cancelled because of a concern about violent protests. They were interviewed by some media and anyone interested in their views, can listen to them speaking on You Tube.
As a result of the visit from those two speakers, we are a bit sensitive about hate speech. Don Brash who was the leader of the National Party at one stage and before that, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, had been invited to speak to the Massey University politics club. He is known for his conservative views, especially on Maori. Some people would call him racist. A few people said there would be a protest if he spoke. In the end, the Vice-Chancellor of the university cancelled his visit. She said that the university’s job was to honour the Treaty of Waitangi and his views on Maori did not do that. She was also worried about violent protests.
Tonight, Don Brash was one of the speakers at a debate at the University of Auckland. All this media attention means that such a large crowd of people came to hear him speak, they had to find a bigger hall. Security people were there to make sure that protests did not become violent.
Since then, there has been criticism of the Massey Vice-Chancellor for not allowing free speech. What is the role of a university in the matter of free speech? Surely a university should encourage students to listen to all sides of an argument and make up their own minds.
• alt right – very conservative, maybe fascist
• Vice-Chancellor – the boss of a university, in America this person is called a president.
• conservative (adj) – unchanging, right wing; opposite is liberal or left-wing
• Treaty of Waitangi – in 1840 Queen Victoria and Maori chiefs signed a treaty; Maori were given the rights of British people and many other agreements were made to protect Maori way of life
• criticism (n) – belief that she made the wrong decision
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