Last month, during his regular Post Cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Bill English was ‘grilled’ about whether he intended putting a charge on fresh water that is being commercially bottled and exported.
The freedom of expression is crucial to the healthy functioning of a democracy. The media, as the ‘fourth estate’ - the fourth pillar of a free democracy alongside the Executive, Parliament, and the Judiciary - plays a central role in defending free speech and holding the government to account. The Human Rights Commission has undermined media freedom...
A plea for free speech in our universities might seem about as unnecessary as a demand that all people be treated equally under the law. After all, the Education Act asserts clearly the right of academics to speak as critics and consciences of society – supposedly securing universities as bastions of independent thought and open expression.
The new Mana Whakahono a Rohe provisions in the 2nd reading version of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill could result in iwi decision-making and enforcement powers on resource consent applications.
Last week I received an anonymous copy of a Memo the Environment Minister Nick Smith had written to his caucus colleagues on 26 January this year, defending his Resource Management Act reforms. It advised National Party MPs on how to respond to concerns raised by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research.
Sir Salman Rushdie understands the importance of free speech more than most. In 1988, the British writer was accused of insulting Islam in his fourth novel, The Satantic Verses. A year later a fatwa calling for his death was issued.
Apocryphally, in 1770, the French writer and provocateur François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) wrote to a French priest, “Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."
Over recent years Google and Facebook have become targets in a campaign questioning whether such successful international companies are paying their “fair share” of tax in the countries in which they operate.