Phil Goff’s Denial of Council Venues to Canadian Speakers Violated the Human Rights Act

People in New Zealand have a set of human rights, enshrined in law. These include the right not to be discriminated against for unjust reasons. As this essay will show, Phil Goff violated the human rights of New Zealanders and of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux when he decreed that the Canadian duo were banned from all Auckland council venues because of their political opinions.

Section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993 lays out the prohibited grounds for discrimination in New Zealand. These are the usual reasons, considered necessary to the functioning of a modern society: race, marital status, gender, age, disability etc. The logic is that we cannot have a functioning society if people are allowed to deny goods and services to others because of spurious and unfair reasons, therefore to do so is criminal.

So you can’t refuse to serve a person at a bar, for example, simply because they are Maori. Neither can you refuse to give a job to a person for the reason that they are homosexual. These are considered acts of discrimination, and are unlawful.

One of these prohibited grounds for discrimination is “political opinion, which includes the lack of a particular political opinion or any political opinion”. This is a verbatim quote of Section 21(j).

So it’s prohibited to refuse a service to someone on the grounds of their political attitudes. Not even if they are Communists or Nazis may one do so. It doesn’t matter, for example, if the proprietor of a hotel thinks that open borders will lead to the ethnic cleansing of his people through the irreversible dilution of his culture – he is still not allowed to refuse service to other people simply because they believe in open borders.

Section 44 of the Human Rights Act states the following:

It shall be unlawful for any person who supplies goods, facilities, or services to the public or to any section of the public—

(a) to refuse or fail on demand to provide any other person with those goods, facilities, or services; or
(b) to treat any other person less favourably in connection with the provision of those goods, facilities, or services than would otherwise be the case,—

by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

So it is not lawful to deny the provision of a facility, such as a council venue, to a speaker based on the political opinions of that speaker. If a speaker wishes to hire a venue – even if it’s a private one – the owner may not refuse service to them simply because of their political opinions.

Phil Goff refused to provide use of council venues to Southern and Molyneux on account of their political opinions. He said that the two have views that “divide rather than unite”, and claimed that this was justification enough. This is unlawful in New Zealand. You cannot deny the provision of a venue to another person merely because you have declared their political opinions “repugnant”.

Phil Goff is a criminal and a human rights violator. If there was justice in New Zealand, he would stand trial.

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