Lizzie Marvelly vs Don Brash

Lizzie Marvelly

Lizzie Marvelly weighed into the free speech debate with a column in a Newspaper yesterday, saying how she could do with far less of Don Brash in her life. Just a guess, but I would imagine the feeling is mutual.  Quote:

I’ve met Don Brash, and I have actually enjoyed time in his company. He is personable and courteous. He also holds and voices opinions I wholeheartedly believe are harmful to my people and my culture, and that I find nauseating. They’re the kind of views that, in my opinion, distort history and stoke separatism.[…]  End of quote.

Don Brash is a member of Hobson’s Pledge, a lobby group formed to oppose Maori favouritism and advocate equality for all New Zealanders regardless of race.

Lizzie, I’m just not seeing how you can twist that very simple statement of intent to mean that they have a view which will “stoke separatism”.  It’s a shame that you find someone advocating equality for all is harmful to your people and your culture.

Lizzie continues:

[…] So forgive me for not feeling any great depth of feeling about Don Brash being denied one of the many platforms that he regularly enjoys. The decision to ban him from speaking at Massey University was undoubtedly an ill-considered own-goal, but it hardly amounts to an attack on the foundations of our democracy.[…]  End of quote.

You’re just not getting it Lizzie. What you think of him is irrelevant.  He was invited to speak at Massey University by the Massey University Politics Society.  Then because of ‘security concerns’, he was uninvited.  When his right to speak was taken away, then free speech was definitely under threat.

Lizzie continues:

[…] What has become overwhelmingly clear in the midst of the tide of hysteria and hyperbole is that there are many people who don’t really grasp the true meaning of free speech. Having the freedom of speech just means (with a few exceptions, such as in matters of national security and hate speech) that the state doesn’t have the right to prevent citizens from expressing themselves or punishing them if they do. It can’t throw people in jail for speaking out against the Government, or to prevent them from speaking out.[…]  End of quote.

Those magical words hate speech, the little get out clause, that anyone who feels entitled can espouse their opinion and apply their own definition of what they think it includes.  Usually that just means anything they don’t like.

Ah yes, here we go:  Quote:

[…] Sir Bob Jones springs to mind – he who exercised his right to free speech to write an (in my opinion) abhorrent column in the NBR then sued Renae Maihi for expressing her views about his column. Jones is absolutely entitled to his opinions, repugnant or otherwise, but I’m starting to wonder whether your speech is inherently freer the more money you have.[…]  End of quote.

The Bob Jones column.  Wow, did that get some panties in a wad.  Lizzie didn’t go into specifics, but I assume this will be the paragraph she is referring to:  Quote:

[…] I have in mind a public holiday where maori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing. And if any maori tries arguing that if he/she didn’t have a slight infection of Irish blood or whatever, they might be the better for it, the answer is no sunshine.[…]  End of quote.

Sir Bob did indeed exercise his right to free speech.  There was no threat of violence, and most people were able to grasp the tongue in cheek humour he intended.

For those that didn’t, let’s assume he was totally serious, and take a moment to turn that paragraph around.

Father’s day will be along soon.  It would be really great if the kids brought Dad breakfast in bed, or washed the car, or mowed the lawns, just to say ‘thanks Dad’.

Does that sound like I’m spewing hate speech towards children ? Of course not, how ridiculous.

But because Bob’s paragraph referred to Māori and not children, Renae Maihi screamed it was hate speech, and set up a petition claiming Sir Bob Jones was guilty of a ‘vile racist rant’ and it was a ‘pitiful and uneducated attack’.  She called him a ‘dinosaur’, and urged the Prime Minister to ‘take his knighthood away from him’.

In response to the petition, Sir Bob Jones has sued Renae Maihi arguing that the language used in the petition was defamatory.  It’s now up to the lawyers to argue the case according to defamation laws.

So let’s get back to Lizzie’s column.  Quote:

As a Māori woman, who is often the only Māori and/or the only woman in speaker line-ups, on panels and on media shows, I’m far more concerned about the women and people of colour who are effectively censored by exclusion or tokenism than I am about Don Brash not speaking to a handful of students.  End of quote.

Wait a second, censored by exclusion? Are you trying to say that you are censored because you are Māori, or because you are a woman?  In this country, it is considered discrimination to make decisions based on race or gender, and that is against the law. If there is reason to suspect that you are being denied roles on that basis, then I suggest you engage a lawyer, not write a column.  Because in our country, anyone is free to apply for whatever role they wish, and the only factor in whether they are successful or not, is ability. If you’re good, they’ll hire you.  If you suck, they won’t.  Nothing at all to do with race or gender.

I also note with some irony, that here you are, a columnist in a national newspaper, publicly exercising your right to free speech by criticising the opinions of Don Brash and Sir Bob Jones. Men who have without a doubt contributed far more to society than you have in your respective lifetime.  Exercising your right to free speech while in turn saying you don’t care if their rights are trampled, because you don’t like what they have to say anyway.


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