Here we go again

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

Firstly we were the poster-boy for Roger­nomics, where the world was told how suc­cess­ful our coun­try was when ‘giv­ing away’ our prime na­tional as­sets. They were en­cour­aged to fol­low our lead. The news me­dia did not re­port that we had cre­ated mas­sive job­less­ness in one fell swoop, cre­at­ing a di­vided class of rich and poor.

Peo­ple who were forced on to the dole were treated as dole bludgers. The vic­tims were mostly den­i­grated, and told that, with­out a job, they were worth­less. Does won­ders for men­tal health.

Se­condly we have had mas­sive im­mi­gra­tion, of 70,000-plus each year for the last 10 years. We can jus­ti­fi­ably ques­tion the qual­ity of vet­ting of im­mi­grants with the Christchur­ch mas­sacre, as the per­pe­tra­tor was an Aus­tralian.

This mas­sive im­mi­gra­tion has caused ex­ten­sive home­less­ness. Com­bine that with the push for higher ed­u­ca­tion to be able to get a job, and we now have gen­er­a­tions of ren­ters, be­cause once peo­ple have paid off their loan they will have to save for their re­tire­ment. This is not the New Zealand way.

Thirdly, the Prime Min­is­ter is now con­sid­er­ing defin­ing ‘hate speech’, which will be pun­ish­able with in­car­cer­a­tion, and en­cour­ag­ing other coun­tries to leg­is­late the same.

Many of us have ex­pe­ri­enced ‘hate­ful speech’, even in let­ters dis­put­ing our let­ters. With the Christchur­ch mas­sacre, many are now afraid to speak up on any topic, as it could now be in­ter­preted as hate speech. This is dan­ger­ous, par­tic­u­larly when we re­mem­ber World War II, and how good Ger­mans were afraid to speak up against atroc­i­ties per­pe­trated by those in power.

We all know what hate­ful speech is. It needs no leg­is­la­tion to de­fine that. So­ci­ety is well able to cen­sure those hate­ful state­ments, re­al­is­ing that it is an in­di­ca­tion of ig­no­rance, and an in­abil­ity to ex­press one’s views in a mean­ing­ful way.

Free­dom of speech is en­shrined in our Bill of Rights, and must not be lost un­der the guise of hate speech.

BEV­ER­LEY ALDRIDGE KATHLEEN PAT­TIN­SON

Ota­matea Grey Power

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