Controversial Canadian speakers cancel NZ event

  • 25/07/2018
Controversial Canadian alt-right speakers Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern.
Controversial Canadian alt-right speakers Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern. Photo credit: YouTube

A controversial event involving two Canadian far-right speakers will no longer be going ahead.

The Free Speech Coalition has also confirmed it has withdrawn its urgent court action against Auckland Council. 

Axiomatic Media and others, supported by the Free Speech Coalition, announced court action against Auckland Council's decision to not offer a council-operated venue to Canadian far-right speakers Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern. 

On Tuesday, the applicants withdrew their application at the High Court, a press release from Auckland Council said on Wednesday. 

But the Free Speech Coalition said in a tweet that Auckland Council "capitulated and we won". The tweet said Mr Goff "was lying in his tweets that he 'banned' speakers".

Mr Goff said in the release he was pleased the group, who are supported by the Free Speech Coalition, backed down and withdrew its legal action. 

He said its case was "always weak and ill-conceived".

"More importantly, I am happy that we will not be using a ratepayer funded council venue to hold an event that contravenes our values of diversity and inclusiveness," he added. 

"I am a strong advocate of free speech but not of hate speech, where people set out to be abusive and insulting of others based on their skin colour or faith."

Mr Goff says the right to free speech does not mean the right to be provided with an Auckland Council platform for that speech, particularly if doing so "would put the public's security and safety at risk".

"Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world and home to people of many different faiths, religions and cultures," he said.