Phil Goff has put himself firmly in the middle of a stoush over free speech and extremism (Getty Images, Supplied)

The Bulletin: Court action going ahead over extremist speakers

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Court action over Southern-Molyneux speech proceeds, courier work conditions exposed, and Northland activists target P-pipe stores.

Legal action against Phil Goff and Auckland Council has gone ahead over the Southern-Molyneux venue banning, reports the NZ Herald. The Free Speech Coalition have filed papers to force Auckland Council to reopen venues to the pair. They’ve also written an open letter, in an attempt to broker a deal to avoid court action.

Phil Goff has been arguing that police were “braced for disorder” if the speakers were to arrive, reports Stuff. He cited clashes overseas around speeches by Milo Yiannopoulos​, who has similarly extremist politics, and a similarly provocative style. Goff is showing no sign yet of backing down on the ban.

Now, seemingly everyone involved in this legal action has taken great pains to make clear that they’re not experts on the views and actions of Southern and Molyneux, or if they are, that they don’t share their views. The FSC say their primary purpose is to uphold freedom of speech, and it’s fair enough to take them at their word in good faith. It’s also fair enough to point out that a significant chunk of the attendees at the protest on this last weekend were motivated by opposition to Muslim immigration. And it’s also fair enough for NZ’s Muslim community to voice their opposition to the speeches, as they did before this whole thing kicked off.

I say views and actions, because I just want to repeat something that was written in The Bulletin last week. Lauren Southern is currently banned from entering Britain after distributing racist material in the city of Luton. She also participated in attempts to stop rescue boats leaving port, to save the lives of migrants who frequently drown in the Mediterranean. Southern could have literally and deliberately caused human life to be lost. Here’s a report on it from the Washington PostThis is an absolute, indisputable fact about Lauren Southern, that should be repeated every single time her views are discussed.


Checkpoint on Radio NZ have obtained official documents that set out the conditions couriers work under, and they are not good. Couriers have to spend significant amounts of money up front for vehicle, equipment and branding, and then their effective hourly rate sometimes ends up below the minimum wage. For some, the employment status is basically a trap between the worst aspects of being an employee and a contractor – none of the benefits of employee status, and none of the flexibility of contracting.


Shops in Northland have stopped selling glass pipes after pressure from the community, reports the Northern Advocate. It follows a viral video campaign from anti-drug activists, in which they asked shop attendants to take the pipes off the shelves, because they’d be used to smoke P.

It’s a really interesting issue, because while it’s great to see community activism leading the way here, it’s entirely possible that the form this action has taken won’t really do anything to reduce meth use. That’s a point the activists themselves acknowledge in this Radio NZ story – they say it’s about sending a message. Still, what if it just leads to people using lightbulbs to smoke P? Drug Help notes that using proper, shatterproof glass is safer.


Speaking of drugs, it’s looking like a bumper crop of wine grapes are going to be harvested this year, reports The Country. Tonnage is up 6% on last year, and it has been especially good in Central Otago, with tonnage up about 15%. That’s excellent news for anyone who likes Pinot Noir, a regional speciality.


This is an interesting follow up to yesterday’s local government stories – it’s a feature about whether or not rates rises are sustainable, from Stuff. Rates rises will exceed inflation over the next ten years, and it adds weight to calls from LGNZ that they need other ways of raising revenue outside of simply using rates.


Auckland councillor Efeso Collins is urging churches to rethink tithing practices in low-income areas, reports Newshub. Cr Collins, who represents Manukau, says some residents are putting themselves in debt to meet the expectations of churches, and says churches need to consider their place in the community.


Methanex will continue producing methanol in NZ until at 2029, reports Interest. That’s a couple of years longer than MBIE estimated the firm would be able to operate for, after the government’s ban on oil and gas exploration. Methanex say they’re “delighted” to have signed new supply agreements, but industry lobby group PEPANZ says it will still only be a “temporary reprieve.”


Here’s a political listicle I can get behind – parties that aren’t in Parliament but should be, by Newshub. The MMP electoral threshold might need to come down a bit for some of them to get in, like the Healthy Kiwis Party, but some of them could feasibly exist in some shape or form next time around and get elected.


And just to round out this section, thank you to everyone who brigaded the vote for the Hot List 2018 – The Bulletin won a People’s Choice award! It’s just like what I always say, the voters are never wrong. And congratulations of course to the winner of the category HeiHei – a very impressive looking partnership between NZ on Air and TVNZ to make content for kids.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Bob Edlin writes about the politics of a new strain of super-grass that is genetically modified. Danyl McLaughlin reports from the frontlines of the Great Wellington Bus War. And Penny Ashton has some strong words about the male dominated casting of the Pop-Up Globe, at a time that they’re also using #metoo branding.


I missed this anniversary the other day, but was reminded of it by this great piece by Buzzfeed AustraliaSaturday was the one year anniversary of Aussie Green senator Scott Ludlum’s resignation, on the grounds that he held dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship, which is prohibited under Australian law. He was widely mocked for that by the Australian political establishment, but is most certainly the one laughing now. No fewer than 17 politicians were caught up in the crisis, including popular candidate for New Zealander of the year and former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce. Here’s an excerpt about what Ludlum is up to now:

“It’s strange, being the first domino and then copping a certain amount of abuse from Labor, which said we were disorganised, and the government, who said the Greens were bad and terrible,” Ludlam told BuzzFeed News this week. “I think it has been a surprise for everyone just how deep and widespread it has become.”

When BuzzFeed News spoke to Ludlam, he was on a ship in New York Harbor. Ludlam has been travelling around the world on a peace ship for the past ten days, along with five weeks at the start of this year, doing lectures and presentations on the nuclear industry and renewable energy, among other things.

“I’m kind of having a ball, actually.”


Warriors stalwart Simon Mannering has confirmed what many were expecting this year in announcing his retirement. He’s coming up on 300 games for the club, and has formerly held the captaincy. Mannering will play out the season, with his last appearance in a Warriors jersey scheduled for September 30 in Sydney, when he lifts the NRL trophy.

Eliza McCartney set yet another national pole-vault record yesterday morning, reports Stuff, and the 21 year old is now just a few centimetres off cracking the 5m mark. That story has quite a cool graphic illustrating her career progression, and how it compares to the World Record of 5.06m.


From our partners, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha writes that while making and selling electricity from the comfort of home might sound like some dodgy online scam, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.


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