Dunedin City Council defends cancelling Speak Up For Women's venue booking

The event was supposed to be held at Dunedin City Library.
The event was supposed to be held at Dunedin City Library. Photo credit: Google Maps

Dunedin City Council has defended cancelling a venue booking of a group opposed to sex self-identification, saying it was for health and safety reasons not due to the group's beliefs.

Speak Up For Women (SUFW) is a group formed in 2018 in opposition to sex self-identification proposals included in a law change signalled by the Government.

The group has been labelled anti-transgender by trans-activists but SUFW maintain they are not anti-trans. 

They have recently been holding meetings around New Zealand to discuss sex self-identification clauses within the Births, Death, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill but have faced challenges with finding adequate venues and have taken their case to the High Court.

Recently the Dunedin City Council cancelled a booking the group had at Dunningham Suite at the Dunedin City Library, but chief executive Sandy Graham has defended the decision, saying it was due to:

Concerns about the welfare and safety of the public using the Dunedin Public Library and Library staff, together with that of SUFW, its supporters and possible protesters, 

The potential for any damage to be caused to DCC property and our valuable Library Collections.

She maintained the decision was not due to the group's beliefs; "we do not take into account the political views any hirer may hold".

SUFW spokesperson Beth Johnson acknowledged Dunedin City Council's statement and said they have worked together to find a new venue. 

"Today's announcement from DCC makes it clear that their concerns rest solely on the management of protesters, and not the content or conduct of our meeting. I am pleased to announce that our Dunedin meeting will now be held on Saturday 24 July in Conference Room 2 of the Dunedin Centre."