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Political Oppression in New Zealand: Brian Tamaki and the Freedom and Rights Coalition are being targeted for government oppression. This time from Christchurch Council.

Political Oppression in New Zealand: It is a Reality.

Published: January 11, 2022

When only one protest is billed for the costs of a protest by a local government body, and other protests are not, there can be no doubt that what we are witnessing is political oppression. The aim is to suppress views that some people do not like.

I have just read, with complete disgust and horror, that Christchurch Council has just sent a $14,000 bill for traffic management to the organisers of an anti-lockdown, anti-mandate protest:

A spokesperson for the council confirmed they have sent the invoice to the Freedom and Rights coalition group, which was founded by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.

The bill, which is for a total of $14,117.47, is to cover costs incurred during three protests in Cranmer Square and in other parts of Christchurch late last year.

Having seen the headline, I was unsurprised to see that the protest group being billed was the Freedom and Rights Coalition Group. As I have discussed at length, Tamaki has been targeted by the Labour government and the police; he is being singled out for his dissent from the government line on Covid policy and for organising the protests. This involved direct coordination between the government and police, making a mockery of any notion that the police are apolitical. It was pure police-state behaviour.

For this latest incident, just to be on the safe side, I checked past news to see if there was any reporting of the council billing for the BLM protests in Christchurch (e.g. see here). I could find no reference to any such billing, and am quite confident that no such billing took place.

In very simple terms, what we are seeing is targeted harassment of legitimate and peaceful protest on no other basis than the fact that local government officials did not agree with the cause. There have been other examples of late. For example, the Speak Up For Women group were forced to go to court to overturn a Palmerston North Council decision to ban them from using council facilities for their meetings (unless they met completely unfair conditions). Other councils, including Auckland Council, had also banned the group, and only relented after the court case.

I am almost at a loss for words to describe quite how disgraceful this kind of behaviour is. I am also becoming increasingly concerned about how New Zealand, inch-by-inch is becoming something akin to a police state. Christchurch Council’s action is fit for a tinpot dictatorship, not a liberal democracy. If it was a one-off incident it would be bad, but these kinds of occurrences are not isolated.

It raises a very fundamental question for all Kiwis; what kind of country do you want to live in? Is it a country in which people who hold a peaceful process are harassed by the government if their views are uncomfortable to the government? In other words, are you happy with the oppression of those who do not hold approved views?

You do not have to agree with one single word of what a protestor is saying. The points at issue are the right to peaceful protest and, above all, the principle of freedom of speech. These are principles that need to be defended relentlessly regardless of who is being defended. The alternative is that we fall further into becoming a police state.

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