Hate speech law – intimidation legalised

And so it begins. The all-out assault on Truth in our nation. In the same week that the New Zealand Olympic Committee selected a man to compete against women, our Government outlined its plans to criminalise anyone who dares to publicly question such absurdity. Do so, and you risk three years in jail, or a $50,000 fine.

Think I’m joking? Read the proposals. Like this Government’s abortion reforms, their proposed hate speech laws are an exercise in extremism. It will be a crime to “maintain or normalise hatred” merely by saying something which could be interpreted as insulting to certain groups.

And when it comes to feeling offended and insulted we all know who will be lining up to air their hurt feelings. It won’t be those of a socially conservative persuasion. Such citizens (especially Christians) have been mocked and vilified in our media for years. But they don’t complain. No, the weaponising of offence will come from elsewhere. It will be the activists of wokeism who will be seeking targets on whom to unleash these laws. Those pushing the deluded ideology of gender fluidity will be especially pleased. Their cause is singled out for special treatment in the Government’s proposals. Under the law, so called gender expression and identity will become a specifically protected group characteristic.

Of course some will argue that no reasonable judge will convict someone for an alleged insult. But without any objective criteria to define normalising “hatred”, the judiciary will inevitably be guided by “generally accepted” community standards. For that you can read – whoever makes the loudest noise. And in our public square the quiet voices of reason and common sense have long since been drowned out by a very vocal minority. Will judges be able to resist the noise? “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar!” springs to mind.

Even if the judiciary do find courage, relying on common sense being inserted into the process at that stage will be far too late. Those accused of speech crimes, even if acquitted, will still have had to go through the whole costly and gruelling process of defending themselves in court. That will be punishment enough. And the activists who will bring complaints know it. That’s why they are such strong advocates of this legislation. It will be the best weapon they have for enforcing the cultural cleansing of any views which don’t align with their agenda.

With this law the devil is not so much in the detail. It is not even in how many court cases actually follow. The power of its poison lies almost entirely in intimidation. The mere risk of being charged with a crime will ensure most people think twice before expressing a view that might be deemed unacceptable. It’s called self-censorship. And it will follow as a chilling inevitability if these hate speech laws pass. Few will dare to question any more. Free speech will be dead.

At that point Truth will not just have fallen in our public square. It will have been actively driven out. Pursued by ideologues of multiple woke causes, but probably led by those brandishing a ridiculous list of gender pronouns in one hand, and the full force of the law in the other.

Ewen McQueen
July 2021

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We fought for them. They fought for us.

Sfakia, south coast Crete

It was a sunny blue morning. But the skulls had bullet holes in them. They were in a glass case within a monument above the village of Sfakia on the south coast of Crete. The plaque noted they had been executed by the Germans for helping New Zealanders escape in 1941.

A few days later we sat in a taverna overlooking the tiny Sfakia beach. From here thousands of New Zealand soldiers were evacuated at night. They had fought courageously, but ill-equipped and with no air support they had been battered by the Luftwaffe and hounded by the German paratroops which followed. Now wounded, demoralised and defeated, they had dragged themselves over the mountains to this remote village on the south coast. Thousands were taken off under cover of darkness to British warships which took them to safe haven in Egypt. But many had to be left behind to fend for themselves.

However they were not alone. In their efforts to evade capture they were assisted by the locals. Hundreds were fed, sheltered, and hidden. For this many Cretans paid with their lives. Sometimes whole villages, including the elderly, women and children were executed. We fought for them. But let’s not forget that they fought for us. And let us not forget what happens when an evil ideology takes power. When a State arrogates to itself the right to determine and enforce what is right thinking, acceptable belief, and correct speech – brutality follows not far behind.

It was a quiet evening in the Sfakia taverna. So I approached the owner. His English was not good so I showed him a photo of the monument on the hill above the village. At first he looked puzzled. Then I explained we were from Nea Zelandia. And I thanked him for what his forefathers had done for mine. “Efcharisto poly!” I said. At that moment there was a meeting of hearts. Acts of great courage, honour, and sacrifice, were remembered and acknowledged across generations and oceans.

Let us never forget. Liberty has a price.

Ewen McQueen
Anzac Day 2021

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The Chiefs respond to Heke’s flagstaff attack

The Waimate North mission station – location of the 1844 hui to discuss Heke’s flagstaff attack

“We are one tribe, and we will fight for the staff and our Governor.” So declared Tamati Waka Nene. It was September 1844. Hone Heke had recently attacked the flagstaff at Kororareka. Now Governor Fitzroy had travelled north to address the situation.

First he met with a large group of Chiefs at the Waimate mission station. Fitzroy explained the significance of the flagstaff. This symbol of Crown sovereignty did not make them slaves as Heke had claimed. Rather it promised them the liberty enjoyed by British citizens. Fitzroy invited full, open and plain discussion on the matter. The gathered Chiefs obliged, and their responses to Fitzroy were startling.

Today we are told Heke attacked the flagstaff because the dual-sovereignty partnership ostensibly agreed to in the Treaty was not being honoured. But from the twenty four Chiefs gathered at Waimate a very different picture emerges. In the record of the meeting (Auckland Museum Library OCM77 MS-430) we hear  almost unanimous support for the Governor. Not only this, but there are some very clear endorsements of his pre-eminent governing authority over all New Zealanders.

From Patuone we hear – “Governor, you are the great chief of this place”

From Wai – “there is no cause; the chieftainship rests with one, the Governor”

From Waka Nene – “Governor if that flagstaff is cut down again, we will fight for it, we will fight for it all of us, we are one tribe, and we will fight for the staff and our Governor.”

Today it is fashionable to assert that, in the Treaty, the Chiefs expected to retain full sovereignty over their own people, whilst the Governor would only exercise authority over the European settlers. Clearly these Chiefs at Waimate didn’t see it that way. They recognised Fitzroy as “our Governor” and openly acknowledged his authority.

That didn’t mean they were all happy with how Fitzroy was governing. There had already been strong push-back against the customs duties he had implemented. These were a sore point for many. However that did not move them from their prior Treaty commitment. Indeed many went on to fight against Heke in demonstration of that commitment.

Sadly their honourable efforts are today largely downplayed, or their motives impugned by modernist historians intent on pushing the dual-sovereignty paradigm. Instead Heke, a known troublemaker who instigated a violent uprising in which many died, is acclaimed as the flag-bearer of the “equal-partnership” cause. But as Wai declared – “there is no cause; the chieftainship rests with one, the Governor.”

Ewen McQueen
February 2021

For more details get a copy of my new book One Sun in the Sky: the untold story of sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi

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Why did Hone Heke cut down the flagstaff?

The modern view is that Hone Heke cut down the flagstaff at Kororareka because his expectation of a dual sovereignty partnership as agreed in the Treaty had not been met. But is this true?

Watch this short video for a different perspective…

For the full story, get your copy of my new book One Sun in the Sky: the untold story of sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi

Ewen McQueen
February 2021

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When hate speech becomes mainstream

Perhaps it’s my white fragility. Or maybe I just can’t stomach hypocrisy. Because the recent Stuff column in which Jane Bowron celebrated the triumph of inclusiveness in our election certainly had my “sickly white” stomach turning.

Bowron noted glowingly how the new Labour Government was full of female, Māori, and LGBT representatives. This is New Zealand in all its diversity, apparently. However in Bowron’s New Zealand there is one group who don’t qualify for inclusion. They cannot even be afforded the respect of being people with a different viewpoint. Instead they must be vilified as “old hat, sickly white and risibly irrelevant”. Such is Bowron’s description of the National Party. Two of its longest serving MPs were singled out for particular disdain. The words arrogance, institutionalised, and “muppets” all made an appearance.

I had to check myself – had I inadvertently switched to reading some ranting social media post? Sadly not. Yes this was a real mainstream media outlet, seemingly doing its best to channel an offensive and immature comment on a facebook post. I’m all for robust debate, but has Stuff really lowered itself to this level?

Of even more concern, is it now acceptable in our mainstream media to describe a group as “sickly white”? Swap out the term white, for the term brown, black, or Asian, and there would be outrage. And rightly so. Gratuitous public insults against any racial or ethnic groups are despicable. So why is it okay to casually cast such a racially charged epithet as “sickly white” into the public square? Are some groups are fair game?

And for those itching to tell me this is why we need new hate speech laws, go scratch somewhere else. It may come as a surprise, but New Zealand already has laws which adequately deal with this. Section 61 of the Human Rights Act addresses racial disharmony. It makes it unlawful to publish written matter which is abusive or insulting, and likely “to bring into contempt any group of persons on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.” Publicly describing a group of persons as “sickly white” would certainly seem to fall within the orb of what Section 61 deems unlawful. So will anyone lay a complaint with the Human Rights Commission?

I doubt it. And that’s probably no bad thing. The existing law is necessary. No reasonable New Zealander thinks we should have absolutely unfettered free speech in our country. However most would agree that the provisions of the Human Rights Act noted above are best reserved to deal with extremist nonsense. The type spouted by the Christchurch mosque shooter. Not the errant musings of a news media columnist.

Calling out the risible double-standards of a liberal media columnist is best dealt with by other means. Rebuttal and exposure of such blatant hypocrisy to the public opprobrium it deserves is the appropriate way forward here. Far better sunlight and open debate, than legal threats and closed door proceedings with a bureaucratic tribunal.

Of course such an approach only works if the mainstream media have the integrity to allow self-criticism. This response to the Bowron column was submitted to Stuff a week ago. It remains unpublished. It would appear that Stuff thinks describing some New Zealanders as “sickly white” is okay. We have a problem… 

Ewen McQueen
November 2020

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Sovereignty and the Treaty – the evidence

As you start your Christmas shopping, this book may be just the thing for someone you know who is interested in New Zealand history and politics. It’s about the past, but it’s also about the future.

One Sun in the Sky presents an evidence-based perspective on the question of sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi. Whilst a supporter of the Treaty settlements process, Ewen McQueen raises serious questions about the modern dual-sovereignty paradigm of Treaty interpretation.

In this book he reviews the historical evidence for how the Treaty was understood by Māori and Pākehā both at the time it was signed in 1840, and for the century which followed. Thoroughly researched and fully referenced, this book is a must-read for all New Zealanders.

Click here to order a copy ($33.50 plus shipping), or to find more about this new book.

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Do good kids a favour – don’t legalise dope

I can still remember the moment. It was a Saturday afternoon in 1982. About 15 minutes before kick-off, our 1st XV rugby coach completed his changing room team talk. Unusually, he then sent only half of us out to the field to warm up. The rest were held back. We all knew why. They were in for a dressing down about a dope smoking incident. I was the team captain. Needless to say, I found myself making the losers speech at the after-match that day.

In my 55 years I have never smoked dope. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t around when I was a young man. Of course it was. Like alcohol it was a reality in my high school years – especially in the social scene surrounding the 1st XV rugby team. I wasn’t a big fan of beer. But it was a legal product. It was freely available and having a beer with “the boys” after the game was encouraged. Occasionally I had one, mainly just to fit in.

Dope was also part of the scene. But those using it were more discrete. No one offered it around at the post match social gatherings. Even if they had I would have declined. It was illegal and I was a “good kid”. I didn’t want to get in trouble. And I knew drugs were not good for you. The fact they were illegal was part of knowing that.

So the law protected “good kids” like me. It protected me in the health message it sent about cannabis. It also protected me in the way it helped to mitigate peer pressure. Being illegal meant pressure to use dope was much less prevalent and overt than it was for alcohol. It also provided a legitimate objection for those who didn’t want to partake.

Make cannabis legal, and those protections for “good kids” will disappear. But do good kids even matter anymore? Or do we have to sacrifice their best interests to “help” others?

These days many of our political leaders, celebrities, and media personalities happily admit to breaking cannabis laws in their past. It was “a long time ago” or they “didn’t inhale” they tell us with a knowing smile. Having used dope is almost a fashion statement. For such leaders it is no surprise that good kids aren’t in the frame when it comes to drugs policy. In their world they probably didn’t even exist. After all – everyone was doing it weren’t they?

No, they weren’t. And a huge proportion still aren’t. They make up hundreds of thousands of our young people. They are good kids. And they deserve better than to be abandoned to cannabis liberalisation by leaders on a mission to recreate the world in their flawed vision of the lowest common denominator.

Of course our young people need health services and education about drugs. But they also deserve the protection of the law.

Ewen McQueen
October 2020

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Danger ahead – Labour’s hate speech agenda

Be warned. Next year the following words may be illegal. Writing, reading, sharing, or simply being in possession of them may make you a criminal. Indeed if you are reading this blog after a Labour victory in the 2020 election you could well be committing a crime right now.

Hate speech laws are firmly on Labour’s agenda. Justice Minister Andrew Little has told us so. In fact we would have had them already were it not for the moderating influence of NZ First over the last three years. With that influence looking likely to be removed from the next parliament, a Labour/Greens government will forge on with delight in this space. 

You only have to read about the launch of Labour’s “Rainbow” policies this week to be assured of that (NZ Herald 05.10.20). One activist gleefully spoke of how New Zealand was about to have the most rainbow parliament in the world. Another told us how “conversion therapy” will be made illegal. Combine this with new laws which will criminalise speech deemed “hateful” in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity, and you have a serious threat to freedom of speech in New Zealand.

Of course the hate speech advocates rarely admit that building a legal fortress around the rainbow agenda is the real agenda. Instead they prefer to focus our attention on the Christchurch mosque shootings. Apparently this is what justifies new hate speech laws. But it doesn’t. New Zealand already has laws which prohibit public dissemination of the sort of racist ideology which the shooter was promoting.

Section 131 of the Human Rights Act 1993 makes it illegal to publish, distribute or publicly broadcast, threatening, abusive or insulting words with the intention of inciting,

…hostility or ill-will against, or bring into contempt or ridicule, any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons,

The push for new hate speech laws cannot be justified by what happened in Christchurch. Instead that tragedy is being cynically used to further an agenda which lies elsewhere. It is an agenda which seeks the complete cultural cleansing of any views which challenge the increasingly bizarre rainbow ideology. Dare to suggest that biology matters and fluidity of gender identity is an unscientific construct – your views will be deemed harmful and hateful. You may be looking at prison time. Certainly a substantial fine.

Think this is just scaremongering? Look at Scotland. Right now, in spite of significant opposition, the SNP is pushing through extreme hate crime laws (BBC News). The list of criteria which define “protected groups” includes sexual orientation and transgender identity. Any action which “stirs up hatred” against such groups is criminalised. Even simply being in possession of “inflammatory material” with a view to sharing it is a crime. Better get rid of that Bible!

Of course genuinely hateful speech against all groups should be condemned. But the problem is that these days any speech which challenges the rainbow agenda is classified as “hateful”. It matters not what tone is used, or how respectfully the view is expressed. Opinions which do not fit the “correct” view on this matter are by definition deemed to be hateful and harmful. 

If you are a New Zealander who holds to a traditional Judeo-Christian understanding of human sexuality and ethics – be warned. If an unrestrained Labour/Greens  government arrives next week, your freedom of expression is under serious threat.

Ewen McQueen
October 2020

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Assisted suicide – the critical unanswered question

TVNZ Q&A

It cuts to the heart of the issue. But it’s the question that euthanasia advocates refuse to answer. They argue that assisted suicide is the only “solution” for a small group of dying New Zealanders who suffer untreatable pain. But the critical question is this.  If legalising assisted suicide increases risk for a large number of other vulnerable kiwis, is it still an acceptable solution?

Palliative care is effective in relieving pain and suffering for the vast majority of those dying with a terminal illness. But for a tiny minority it is not. On TVNZ’s Q&A programme last week the Hon Alfred Ngaro noted the experience of a leading palliative care specialist. Over a period of forty years she had treated 12,000 patients. In only twelve cases was palliative care ineffective at relieving pain. 

The interviewer Jack Tame quickly responded with the obvious question – yes but why should we not give those twelve people the option of assisted suicide? It is a question which encapsulates the strongest argument for those advocating for the new End of Life Choice Act. When palliative care isn’t enough, shouldn’t euthanasia be an option?

But it is a question with a very narrow vision. It ignores the wider and more critical question. Should we make changes to “benefit” the twelve, if those changes are likely to harm many thousands of others?

For those who answer no, it is not because they lack compassion or fail to recognise the suffering of the twelve. It is because they perceive that the changes involved cannot be “quarantined” so they only impact on this small group. This is the tragic reality that must be faced. 

For a start the changes involved in the End of Life Choice Act cannot be quarantined legally. In spite of the legislation’s architect David Seymour’s claims, there is very little in the Act to ensure patients make their choice free of duress or coercion (read more here). In the same TVNZ programme Seymour also dismissed concerns about the “slippery slope” when it came to legal eligibility. Forget about what might happen in the future he said. Focus on the legislation in front of us now. However we all know that this genre of socially liberal legislation never remains what is in front of us now.  

More importantly, the quarantine challenge with this legislation extends well beyond its legal impact. In this Act the State will effectively sanction the idea that there is such a thing as a life not worth living. Once it does so, there will be no way to culturally quarantine this concept. There are tens of thousands of New Zealanders who at any one time are suffering serious depression. Seymour will reassure us that such people are not eligible for assisted suicide under this legislation. But that completely misses the point. The issue here is not legal eligibility. The issue is cultural endorsement of suicide. Go there, and you will inevitably place these vulnerable people at higher risk.

In their tunnel vision, the advocates of the “End of Life Choice Act” consistently ignore these concerns about the wider impact it will have. However good government does not suffer tunnel vision. It takes a broader view of the common good. And most importantly, good government does not assume all problems can be solved and all suffering relieved. It recognises that we live in an imperfect world, where trying to solve intractable problems, often risks creating worse ones.  

Ewen McQueen
September 2020

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Politics and schools don’t mix?

On Tuesday this week, Act MP David Seymour addressed the school assembly at Auckland Grammar. Among other things, he promoted his euthanasia legislation to the students.

On Wednesday, news arose of Catholic schools providing information to students and parents outlining the risks of that legislation, and of legalising cannabis. Seymour promptly responded that the education system  should be politically neutral and “it was inappropriate for schools to get involved in a partisan way” (NZ Herald). Apparently politics and schools don’t mix – unless you are the Act Party leader.

Of course such blindness to the contradiction in one’s own position is not restricted to MPs like David Seymour. Many in our governing bureaucracy are equally optically challenged.

The Ministry of Education also weighed in on the Catholic schools “controversy” this week. Deputy Secretary Katrina Casey noted that integrated religious schools are Crown entities just like state schools. As such they “are required to be politically neutral.” However only the day prior, the Ministry had issued new sexuality education and relationships guidelines which stated that schools needed to,

Allow their students freedom of expression in relation to their gender identities and sexual orientation, including the right to determine their own identity and name.

Include content on the diversity of sex characteristics, sexuality, and gender identities in their curriculum programmes.

So when did the political ideology of gender confusion become scientifically accepted truth which must be enforced in our schools? This week apparently. The same week the Ministry of Education is lecturing integrated Catholic schools on the need to be politically neutral.

Such is the hubris of the social liberals who now dominate our political and bureaucratic establishment. They cannot see the hypocrisy of their positions. They simply assume that their particular worldview and the deluded ideas which often arise from it are somehow “neutral”. However alternative viewpoints which challenge their belief framework are “political speech” which must be kept out of our schools. Go figure!

Ewen McQueen
September 2020

 

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