Jordan Williams
Free Speech Coalition

It seems the threats to free speech extend further than Phil Goff and Auckland Council.  Today we got the news that New Zealand is no safe space for international academics, with Sky City cancelling a contract to host Australian philosopher Peter Singer. 

The reason given by Sky City for cancelling Professor Singer’s event is that “some of the themes promoted by this speaker do not reflect our values of diversity and inclusivity.”

Sky City’s policy on “diversity and inclusivity” must not extend to diversity and inclusivity of thought.

We’re following events closely – not because we subscribe to the views of Professor Singer (we take no view), but because it should be up to you whether you want to hear what someone has to say, not a mob.

TVNZ approached us for comment on the story – which you can read here.

Our full media statement from Patrick Corish is below.


Responding to the cancellation of Australian academic Peter Singer’s talk by Sky City, Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Patrick Corish says:

“SkyCity has every right to cancel a speaking event, but they do open themselves up to criticism of being fearful of a little controversy.”

“The larger free speech concern here revolves around how Mr Singer will find another venue, considering Auckland Council has a near-monopoly on suitable alternatives. The Council has proven that it is easily spooked by threats of protest, and already politicians are calling on the Council to ban Professor Singer as it did to controversial Canadian speakers.”

“When Auckland Council cancelled Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, the speakers had to find a private venue at the last minute. Options were limited and as a result their arrangements fell through.”

“More broadly, it’s disturbing that controversial speakers are increasingly being de-platformed, instead of simply protested.”

“These sort of topics are discussed routinely in a 100 level philosophy class.”

“Many New Zealanders who mightn’t agree with Mr Singer’s views may still be interested in hearing what he has to say. It’s a shame SkyCity doesn’t seem to value that kind of intellectual curiosity.”

“Mr Singer’s speaking plans have already sparked some healthy debate over his views. It only seems to be a small minority of critics who want to go so far as silencing him. We shouldn’t let them speak for all of us.”