About the Author

Avatar photo

Dr Muriel Newman

Manipulating the Truth

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on

Earlier this month Elon Musk, the CEO-founder and Chief Engineer at SpaceX – and CEO and Product Architect of Tesla – made a full takeover offer to buy the social media giant Twitter after having purchased 9.2 percent just weeks before.

In a letter to Twitter’s Board, Musk explained, “I had invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy. However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”

He offered $54.20 per share – a 54 percent premium over the day before he began investing and a 38 percent premium over the day before he announced his bid.

The Board, which has a legal duty is to act in the best interests of shareholders, has yet to formally respond to his offer.

Elon Musk says he wants to transform Twitter into a bastion of free speech: “This is not about the economics. My strong intuitive sense is having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is important to the future of civilization. The civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform. Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and perception that they are able to speak freely, in the bounds of the law.”

He believes the source code for the site’s algorithm should be openly shared, that permanent bans from the platform should be rare, and that the only limits on speech should be the legal limits imposed by the governments of countries Twitter operates in: “A good sign as to whether there is free speech is when someone you don’t like, is allowed to say something you don’t like. If that is the case, then you have free speech.”

The news of his bid has been greeted with enthusiasm by advocates of free speech and the truth all around the world. It remains a tragedy that nowadays, social media users challenging the ‘woke’ consensus on ‘controversial’ issues are having their comments removed by algorithms and their accounts terminated.

It has been argued that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Christchurch Call, following the 2019 mosque shooting tragedies, made matters worse by pressuring social media companies into becoming more pro-active in censoring their sites. The message from politicians was clear: self-regulate or be regulated.

As a result, censorship by Big Tech is now rife. While Twitter’s banning of President Trump was widely reported, not so well known is how closely Facebook works with the White House – and other governments – in the fight against so-called “misinformation”. Meanwhile, YouTube has admitted deleting a million videos containing Covid “misinformation”, and even Microsoft’s LinkedIn is cancelling accounts of those challenging the woke agenda – including genetic vaccine pioneer Dr Robert Malone, who has expressed concerns about the mRNA vaccine.

This raises an obvious question: to what extent are governments influencing social media content? And is that influence solely due to the threat of regulation or have social media companies become overly reliant on revenue generated from government agencies? 

What we do know is that controlling the narrative has become a fixation of our “unless you hear it from us, it’s not the truth” Prime Minister.

The Ardern Government spent $16.4 million at the start of the pandemic on public relations and messaging, paying Clemenger BBDO $3 million and the multinational advertising firm OMD $12 million. Everything from “the team of 5 million” to the “be kind to each other” slogans were carefully planned, tested, and executed.

‘Controlling the narrative’ became such an obsession that even Cabinet Ministers were gagged – unless they had approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Herald journalist Kate MacNamara, who has been investigating the government’s communications strategy, reveals that New Zealand social media users are under surveillance – by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet:

“The Government has paid an estimated $200,000 for a long-running series of ‘social media listening reports, aimed at gathering information on Kiwis’ online posts and conversations… However, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has refused to make the reports public, along with the scope of the ‘listening’, its methodology, and the themes it has encompassed. Fifty-two such reports were commissioned in the past full financial year, one per week. That ‘regular reporting’ has continued through the current financial year.”

The Prime Minister’s Department is also funding “social media influencers”, with $50,000 paid to Fuse Creative for 21 ‘entertainers’, including Gaby Solomona, Moses Mackay, Anika Moa, and Tina Maro, to promote the February 2021 “#stayinforit” campaign.

Kate’s investigations uncovered the extensive efforts undertaken by the Government to put a positive spin on the vaccine procurement process, even though New Zealand lagged behind other countries.

The debacle was caused by Cabinet setting up a Vaccine Taskforce – to buy vaccines and promote the need for vaccinations – in May 2020 but failing to provide their funding until August. While that meant vaccine deals could not be finalised until December, “the public was fed a soothing version of events shaped by outside PR help.”

That PR advice was provided by Karl Ferguson of Arkus Communications, who was paid $130,000 for “communications that controlled and shaped the flow of information around vaccine procurement… to achieve a singular and flattering version of events.”

Kate MacNamara reveals ‘independent commentators’ were targeted for briefings: “We worked closely with Taskforce agencies on key communications collateral to support the Pfizer announcement… key stakeholders – especially those likely to be approached by media for comment – were provided with a ‘heads up’ prior to the announcements going out. A number of these stakeholders have provided positive public comment as a result.”

Those commentators have been named as the Ministry of Health’s Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Ian Town; Auckland University’s Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles, Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris, Associate Professor Nikki Moreland, Professor Shaun Hendy, Professor Nikki Turner, Dr John Taylor, and Dr Matire Harwood; Otago University’s Professor Michael Baker, Professor David Murdoch, Professor Sue Crengle, and Associate Professor James Ussher; Queensland University’s Professor Ian Frazer; Dr Graeme Jarvis of Medicines New Zealand; Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Professor Graham Le Gros and Gail Marshall of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research; Professor Michael Bunce of the Environmental Protection Authority; and Dacia Herbulock of the Science Media Centre.

These became the go-to ‘experts’ that the mainstream media relied on: “Updates by officials to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern say the proactive briefing of the ‘commentators’ helped to achieve positive media coverage.”

Kate MacNamara reveals that even the timing of vaccine announcements was manipulated: “The timing of vaccine announcements also entailed considerable and clearly political choreography, all of it aided by Ferguson… The agreement with Pfizer was signed on October 6, and that news was held for six days, and released by Ministers Chris Hipkins and Megan Woods on October 12, the Monday of election week.”

The Government denied that politics played any part in that announcement delay!

Kate explained that once the vaccine contract wound up, Karl Ferguson’s expertise was re-directed to the health reforms, where he “now provides ‘communications and engagement services’ to the Health Transition Unit in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is leading a plan to transform the structure of the country’s health system”.

The Prime Minister will spend $18 million this year on consultants, trying to convince New Zealanders that abolishing District Health Boards and segregating health services by race are necessary – even though the primary motivation behind the Pae Ora health reforms is political: to introduce Labour’s He Puapua co-governance plan for tribal control.

The ‘official’ justification for the reforms – to eliminate systemic racism in the health system and reduce Maori disparity – have been fact checked by Auckland GP Dr Lawrie Knight and found “to be incorrect.”

However, as a result of public pressure – and congratulations to those NZCPR readers who put in submissions and warned others about Labour’s unmandated He Puapua agenda – the Select Committee Report on the Pae Ora Bill indicates co-governance has now been dropped.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, journalist Richard Harman – the founder of the political news website Politik – explains the development:

“There has been an attempt to bury what is potentially an explosive backdown by the Government with the release of a report late Thursday before the Easter shutdown.

“The Pae Ora Committee’s report and draft bill to legislate the health reforms makes no reference to what had been called a Maori Health Authority veto over New Zealand Health Authority decisions.

“Health Minister Andrew Little conceded in Parliament last year that the Maori Health Authority and Health New Zealand — the proposed new national health body — would be able to veto each other.

“But in changes made by the Select Committee the two bodies will not interact with each over the health plans and any final decisions will be made by the Minister of Health. There have been other changes which add up to an erosion of the powers of the Maori Health Authority.”

These developments – which confirm the importance of speaking out against dangerous government policies – suggest the health reforms should now be put on the back burner since He Puapua co-governance was the main reason for the centralisation of the health system and the abolition of community health boards.  

There have also been new developments over the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill – to introduce He Puapua co-governance by elevating the influence of voters on the Maori Roll to five-times that of voters on the General Roll. Firstly, the submission time-frame has been extended for a further two weeks to May 4 – submissions can be made HERE. Secondly, the Attorney General has now issued a report finding the Bill is discriminatory and “cannot be justified.”

While that report doesn’t prevent the Government from passing the Bill, it will force Jacinda Ardern to carefully consider the public relations implications – not only of the Rotorua Bill, but the whole He Puapua co-governance agenda.

That agenda, of course, includes Three Waters – Labour’s plan to pass control of council water infrastructure and services to the unaccountable representatives of multi-million-dollar iwi business development corporations through He Puapua co-governance.

At least $3.4 million has already been spent on PR consultants operating out of the Prime Minister’s Department to convince the public that the reforms are necessary.

After last year’s propaganda campaign maligning councils attracted so many complaints it had to be abandoned, a far more sophisticated and sinister approach is now being used, whereby almost daily, State-funded media are manipulating public opinion by headlining news stories favourable to Three Waters.

Where does propaganda and misinformation begin, and end, is a question we are all now left wrestling with. Can we trust anything this Government says or does?

Increasingly it feels there is nowhere to turn for the truth. All too often, mainstream media are seen as puppets on a string. ‘Influencers’ are being paid by central government to push its narrative. So-called ‘independent’ experts are given ‘favoured person’ status and showered with attention they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. And social media giants – born out of the desire for free speech – are coming under increasing pressure to back government narratives.

Now, more than ever, we need the likes of Elon Musk – who believes “a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is important to the future of civilization” – to remain committed to that goal for the good of people across the globe.

Regrettably, what we now have in New Zealand is a Prime Minister and a Government obsessed with manipulating the narrative and controlling the public – and that is very dangerous indeed.

Please note: To register for our free weekly newsletter please click HERE.


*Do you agree with Elon Musk that “free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy”? 


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Absolutely vital for a democratic Nation. Dene
Absolutely 100%. Janine
Free speech is essential for the forward progress of society and business Warren
Its a non-negotiable Eise
Without Free speech there is no Truth. Robert
It’s not Democracy if you don’t have free speech. Heather
Without free speech – the alternatives are in history – Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, North Korea. Doug
It is imperative that this corruption is highlighted in every corner of NZ and we send this lot packing next election Ken
Without free speech, civilization os DOOMED Mike
A VERY LARGE YES ! Let us always have the truth and rid the country of this vermin. Fortunately the Labour tenure will end with a resounding defeat. Liars,cheats and bastards never prosper. History shows they eventually fall on their swords. This nonsense cannot continue because it’s all about the death of freedom. which we have so enjoyed in our long lives. Many thousands of our forebears fought and died for freedom. We will not be beaten by a minority, lies, twisting history and a feeble performance. Freedom always and good luck Elon. New Zealand needs to get a grip on reality as I see 11-year-olds running the show over the long weekend with ram-raids and uncontrolled behaviour terrorising retail businesses and causing serious losses. What a weak and wet-behind- the-ears country we have become. Whoever is in charge, show some guts, lay down the law and get tough. This country has become a proper shambles ! John
Cindy the witch and her commies, making sure free speech is totally crushed….. in NZ,then they will bring in full-on statzi police state for mopping up!! Told you so. David
Absolutely! What a Hero Elon Musk is for our civilization Bet Jacinda had a cry about this. Carole
Idiocy on steroids. About time this train wreck Govt got the boot. Mark
but this country’s govt doesn’t as proven by our dictator who has paid the media to print what spews from not only her mouth but many of her bent and twisted pollywog misfits mates who believe its the truth. Richard
Free speech is critical in a democracy. we the people need to demand a robust democracy. one person one vote with open debate. Anything less is not democracy. Ardern did not discuss their transformational changes with us the people prior to election. Labour cannot ever be trusted again and nor can the silent media. Sam
Absolutely, everyone especially when feeling strongly about something and wishing too, should have their say. Eric
Free speech = free knowledge John
Now that the government seems to have to back down on its illegal plan to destroy democracy it is not just a case of back down but with the enormous amount of tax money being wasted on these stupid ideas it is time that the whole business of changing the way we are governed and giving control of the country to the Maoris should be canned. Even more important is that our news reporting agencies, radio, and TV should be released from the government gagging that has occurred so that the public can be informed of the two faced lies that have been spread by all Labour politicians. CHRIS
How refreshing is this statement from Elon Musk, a last bastion of Democracy it seems apart from Trump. Our Liebour Govt is a disgrace & totally out of control if they think they can barge on regardless trying to introduce their He Pua Pua agenda without ANY public mandate. I hope & pray that they have sensed that public opinion is going strongly against their totalitarian plans to turn NZ into a Communist country, over my dead…! Bruza
I have more faith in Elon Musk controlling a social media platform than I do politicians controlling content via legislation. jd
Elon Musk is right…… sadly cindy and her commie crime gang, are destroying democracy here at every turn, democracy is not in their vocabulary !! David
Free speech allows the general population to engage in debate and to say what they think. Left wing, socialists and autocratic regimes depend on controlling the narrative to retain power. If the general population has an opportunity to voice their opinions then their is opportunity for people to get together and restrain the appetites of those who would like to have all the power. Good on Elon Musk! I hope he keeps the platform free from the oppression of political debate. Dianna
The bimbo’s decree that unless you heard it from her it’s not true should have sent shivers through NZ bill
Most certainly! Ann
100% Agree trish
The newspaper or Stuff is politically controlled so give us a platform to give opinions Andrew
Absolutely Eleanor
Of course Clive
Not only is our speech censored, our thinking is constantly being influenced by our great comrade leader. We need unbiased MSM like the US Foxnews I always watch. Now Musk has bought Twiitter, free speech will hopefully be on the rise. Monica
Absolutely no question that free speech as Elon Musk describes it is essential for a functioning democracy. What we have in the western world now is predominantly an autocracy controlled by a super rich class that own the largest corporations. Peter
Secretive coalition government agendas are a threat to democracy Peter
Absolutely. Without “free speech”, we wither on the vine and die. Grahame
now more than ever with these buffoons trying to run things john
This is a breath of fresh air and hopefully the start of a more rigorous exposure of what I describe as dirty politics Peter 
Its a must. Cyril
Paramount Linda
I have had several overseas relatives and friends contact me as they are worried about “what is happening in New Zealand and what a shame it all is.” Free speech, they indicate, is long gone in NZ. It is fortunate I am an elderly person, but I worry about what will happen to my grandchildren. Paloma
We must stop the WEF from achieving its goals….Blocking free speech is part of the plan Richard
whilst not being a user of social media, the statement has merit Peter
Whether it’s media or politicians, I’m so sick of all the omissions, distortions, manipulations and outright lies I could scream. I hate what it’s doing to our society. I hate the dismantling of our democracy, the re-writing of our history, the enforced use of a language 97% of Nzers don’t understand, the changing of our place names and the name of our country, the stealing of our water assets, the decolonisation of our education system, what else is underway that we’re yet to find out about? It’s a total nightmare. Wendy
The problem I have with Elon Musk and the very wealthy is they can loose sight of how the greater population live. They are money driven and although I do not have a problem with that, they can become very opinionated, dictatorial and almost arrogant. Having said that it is certainly a necessity to have such people to advance the world unlike where Ardern is taking this country. Chris
Freedom for all Joe
This govt is tyranny Let’s hope enough of NZ can wake up and reverse this undemocratic dictatorship. It will up to Maori to decide if they want democracy which NZ ers fought and died for – or the communist programme developed by the UN – the blame for that lies squarely on John Key Mike
Absolutely. Great to have someone prepared to stand up for it. Carolyn
I believe the majority of the peoples around the globe are tired of the censoring and banning actions of social platforms such as TWITTER. Iain
I do agree with his comment but if you think you can trust this man then do further research. Do you notice how he believes ” that the only limits on speech should be the legal limits imposed by the governments of countries Twitter operates in”. Does that then not just bring it back to corrupt politicians pulling the Musk puppet strings?? Also, this man is not about ‘helping the masses’, look into his past and present relationships. Lazza
yes, absolutely. Anzac day reminds us that people have killed and died for freedom and will do so again if necessary. bruce
Yes – and we are in the process of being taught just how fragile the right to free speech is! The present so-called Bill of Rights is useless as it is insufficient to restrain the depredations and abuses of governments, such as the one we have now – it needs to be enshrined in Statute Law, not just an Act of Parliament, which could be overturned or nullified at some point in the future. We cannot afford to be saddled with a government of this sort ever again! Scott.
Freedom of speech and truth are imperative to maintaining a free and just society just look at Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s and Also Russia right now – we ain’t far behind with the present politicians in control. Rob
No free speech will be no free thought. Everyones spirit is all freedom loving. Alan
It is more than just a societal imperative – it is absolutely essential! Ron
At the very least we require politically disinterested independent news media and not state run. Speech shackles would peel off with ease with the present wokeness Keith
Media must be totally independent and verify their information before release. Wayne
We are one country not two Enough of this bullshit that is being fed to us every day John
the truth is all that is needed. do i trust our government? no !! graham
Hell yes, but of course this Labour party wont go for that, more lies to come and keep coming. Fraser
yes to free speech but no to one person taking control , look what happening here with one person [cindy] taking control , plus all her side kicks, other wise yes if is done democracy mervyn
Absolutely is. I won’t be giving my vote to anyone who is not pro democracy and pro freedom of speech. Pammie
Absolutely without hesitation. Now and forever. Its imperative that we change the current government before they’re able to do any more damage to our beautiful country. Me must go back to being one people one nation. Erin
Absolutely,just refer to hitler,stalin pol pot PUTIN and the likes! Stephen
Essential for a free democracy Tom
“Jab”cinda has to go!!!! TO OBLIVION Isabel
It is apparent this govt has got a PR agenda to keep the population believing that they are doing a good job ,BS Dennis
It is one of the foundations of a free society. If you can not express your opinion even though it may be against what the Government is doing you are not free. Any attempt to prevent or punish freedom of speech should be met with total resistance and those who are advocating the policy should be promptly removed from office as their actions are totally undemocratic. Allan
I am sure that some time ago most believed that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary in a functional democracy – today such a bill is vital to protect the individual in the dis-functional democracy we have! A Bill of Rights has become a topic for the next federal election in Australia in May. Frederick
Absolutely. Free speech and the elimination of censorship are critical to the effectiveness and fairness of democracy Richard
Go you good thing Elon Musk. John
Loss of free speech is the program for dictatorship as seen is Putins Russia and other dictatorships Peter
It is impossible to have democracy without free speech….Jacinda has no real appreciation for that…. Mark
free speech includes the right to be wrong, and to be corrected by others. when Jacinda states that only she has the truth and then builds an enormous PR machine in her office while funding the media which pays her back by not correcting her and her ministers the ‘corrective’ characteristic of free speech is lost, and well lose. in NZ today the only speech which appears to be ‘free’ is that which serves the Government’s interest – all the rest is dismissed. Eric Blair writing as ‘George Orwell’ described in fiction what happens when the narrative is controlled by those in power who spin a good story while controlling the media. increasingly the He PuaPua narrative reads like ‘1984’ where words are redefined as antonyms of their original meaning. Keep up your good work; we are listening out here Baden
It is very difficult to have anything published , in any paper, if it goes against what the Government wants heard. We certainly need a platform for people to voice their own opinions and and be heard. Josephine
Without free speech there is NO democracy. Only a Communist system bans free speech. Peter
Absolutely !!!!! Twitter and Google have already banned anything said against man’s involvement in Climate Change and this is just the beginnings of treacherous manipulations. Alan
Without “free speech” there is a great danger that we could have a “dictiitoral” society by removing the ability of citizens to state their own ideas and comments. Brian
certainly don’t have that any more in NZ! Trevor
Let’s hope Musk practices what he preaches and reinstates Trump’s twitter account when he buys twitter. Mike
Wow! A hard one! Walton
NZ media is now entirely manipulated by Labour with no access to any other opinions contrary to the Leftist agenda & mass indoctrination of everything Maori under the disguise of they are the Indigenous peoples of NZ which is a lie as they are migrants themselves from Hawaii & have no greater rights than any other NZrs . Warren
Evidence that this government is misleading the people must be made public Theo
Democracy and debate create individual contribution to community – Dictatorship and censorship create forced dependency and Collective indoctrination Leeanne
The poison of Comrade Jas-bin-her can only be eradicated when the 2 legged sheep awaken and become thinking humans, wishful thinking?? Russell
With thre caveat that there will always be those who seek to manipulate the truth. Max
What an insightful guy is Musk. Make him president! Grant
He is so so correct. Perhaps we could try to replace her with him. I would sleep a lot easier. Keith
Without free speech there is no society. Charles
Free speech is mot something that can be controlled by the corrupt government. Otherwise it is not free. We have to understand that our govt is not operating in our best intrests and as such is without mandate. The system is broken and needs to be pulled down. Neil
Most of us grew up under the adage of “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Sadly morons and geeks like Ardern never believed that ( probably nerds bullied at school) and can’t handle be abused or the truth for that matter. Sensorship of the key tool of all dictators, Communists and despots. What else needs to be said. Ardern fits all of these labels so crazes sensorship over freedom. Tony
Freedom! The right of free speech, expression, opinion discussion and debate is an undeniable right! To deny humanity this freedom is to refuse them the ability to live a meaningful life! Lois
Free speech cannot be stifled in a democracy. Dennis
.No doubt about it. The media is being manipulated but is more than willing to play the party tune for a price. Having an “opinion’ on anything earns you a label as a racist or a traitor or being just plain negative. Free speech is likely to come at a price. I think I have mentioned it before but this country is stuffed and no existing political party has had the guts or brain to say anything constructive that may save it….god defend NZ. Bruce
Without Freedom of speech Democracy doesn’t exist Lena
Voltaire The right to free speech is more important than the content of the speech Geoffrey
Absolutely agree. No FREE SPEECH is the opposite its communism…. Simon
good or bad both sides of a story needs to be heard Gordon
This Govt is not trustworthy and their manipulation of the good people of NZ makes my blood boil. I am a widow and pentioner and if I had more money I would give it all to keep NZCPR going, they are doing well to keep us all informed and our blindfolds are removed. Barbara
democrqcy is one man or woman one voice co governance has no place in a democracy John
Free speech, the right to all information – NO HIDDEN AGENDAS Sheryl
Lies and spending money continues to shut people up. Ann
Elon Musk is right on the button about free speech.Unfortunately free speech is being controlled in NZ by the Labour Government and they need to go. Frank
This is like asking ‘is the Pope Catholic’? Only governments pushing their corrupt agenda onto us would disagree. We need more people like Elon Musk to step up and take on the establishment. Jan
Most definitely. The law already exists for such things as slander. If it aint broke, don’t fix it! Kevan
100% Jim
I never thought I would agree with Elon Musk on anything but freedom of speech is vital and is under threat. Geoff
A breath of fresh air. Peter
Not only free speech but the new education agenda that will teach children a biased account of Maori history that will never mention the musket wars or female baby’s infantisiside. Steve
Freedom of speech is vital for true democracy and freedom. Only with freedom will we prosper. Honesty and Integrity are also important. John
That being so, what chance have we got to stop this rampant, evil, self-serving, democracy-destroying, lying Government ? Fortunately the word is getting out, thanks to your publication, but much damage can be done between now and 2023, some of which might take years to reverse. Some may never unless we achieve a strong, united new Government to oust this lot. Robyn
We must have free speech. that is what democracy is all about. William
All sides of a conversation should be heard David
Elon is an example to all and that also includes the SEC Norman
Most certainly to stop this communist govt getting us alined with Putin eric
how true Barry
It is a no-brainer! John
Absolute Free Speech is our Most Valued Human Right. Coral
All power to Elon on this issue ,but can he be trusted? Gary
Free speech & democracy are the worst enemies of Marxist/Globalist Agenda politicians. Ardern, Trudeau, & Biden are the leaders of the pack. Honest politicians, outside of parliament, & the likes of Elon Musk, will be, & are, stifled or destroyed at any cost. Evil shows no mercy, to those who oppose its ultimate plan of one world government. A.G.R.
Certainly, certainly and certainly. Without the platform we have no voice. Terry
Every one has the right to have Free Speech. Except Maoris. Graham
Free speech is not free speech if such a freedom is restricted or, worse, curtailed by legislation. What’s worse: to be allowed to speak one’s opinions freely, or not to speak out at all in case one is censured or “cancelled” by the “speech police”? As is said, Even the walls have ears! Laurence
Good on him. Where are our successful business people speaking out and using their wealth for similar objectives……not good enough anymore just being political party donors. Neville
so very much so. ALL KIWIS are being lied to every day! bill
Taxpayers should not be funding Labour’s massive unmanaged policy agenda. The auditor general and crown law should be looking into these issues urgently and publicly disclosing their findings. Trevor
WELL DONE ELON MUSK! Ardern is such a deceitful P.M. it is almost impossible to find out the TRUTH, as she has gagged the media and is paying a fortune to ‘influencers’ to sell HER version of the ‘truth’. Where will it END! With Ardern being turfed out of Parliament I HOPE! Sylvia
Attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” An educated citizenry is better able to discern truth from fiction. A free press is an essential feature of education and a viable democracy. Ralph
100% agree with Musk. The man is far more trustworthy, honest and open than any politician in the USA or NZ Mark
Our free speech rights and democracy itself are under dire threat from the socialist GOVT currently in power in NZ. They need to go…NOW Andrew
It is quite obvious that Elon Monk is right. June
There is way too much censorship and woke BS in MSM that is eroding democracy world wide. Donna-Maree
Without it we are nothing but prisioners – spare us from that. Well done Elon if it is true tony
Ardern’s government would have to be one of the most devious I have experienced in my long lifetime. The slow creep towards socialism and the breakdown of democracy is appalling. This must end here now! Rob
Without this we are controlled and that is NOT Democracy. Geoff
Without free speech we will end up in a dictatorship like Russia, China and North Korea. You say the wrong thing against the government it’s of to the gulag with you. “Be kind” yeah right Jacinda, practice what you preach. Bazza
NZ was a democratic country. It is now a divided nation with maori believing it is our fault they are second class citizens. This is incorrect, the problem lies with Maori who claim Colonisation has caused the problem – Amazing how immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, (european, like myself) etc who are able to succeed in NZ. Maori ned to look at themselves, until they accept that the problem is one of Maori and their inability to be educated and to work hard. THe blame game cannot go on for another 170 years……. Richard
Free speech is an essential component of a democratic society. I have the right to say what I want without having a government agency prosecuting me for what I say. If what I say promotes the use of violence then I expect to be challenged on that outcome. I abhor violence (although I would like Putin to meet a violent end) because we should be able to debate our views without being labelled as racist, or communist, or right wing nationalist or some other grouping that puts me in a box. If I have valid arguments for my views that are based on facts I should be free to express them. Kerry
democracy relies on shared info – good and bad Gill
of course David
An old truth Thomas
The level of trust within our communities has been eroded over many years, until now the Government considers it needs to force its agenda on the public – no simple belief is able to survive. Robin
Free speech and open are the cornerstone of democracy but this government with jack boots Jacinda at the helm has made that position redundent and destroyed the future prospects for the general population. They have lied and deceived al New Zealanders and have allowed the likes of Willy Jackson and the Maori elite to rip the Country apart. Just watch the next few months as inflation and mismanagement takes Hold. ken
My only concern is that “one” person can control such a universal platform and that wealth or money is the “only” determinant of such control. kevin
manifestly so! murray
Finally the worm is turning . Excellent column Muriel , the Tooth Fairy and her partners in crime will have to do more serious bribing which is their low life tactic. Hopefully those who misguidently voted Labour will not be be so easily bribed next election . Ray
It is the only way to true democracy. CMT
We cannot let democracy in this country be swept out of existence. Peter
Our democracy is in grave danger Raymond
Even the media would have to agree with this position. Terry
We’re already in dangerous territory – similar to 1930s Germany – we cannot afford to let free speech die. Aj
Yes. Of course free speech is imperative for a functioning democracy. Sadly, we do not have a functioning democracy under our present “Beloved Leader’s” government and their lick-spittle press. Rob
Absolutely !! Doug
It is so elementary, it is difficult to believe it is being questioned apart from Communist thought ? David
Normally I don’t give a Tinker’s cuss what Elon Musk says. While the importance of free speech is self evident and the idea is not his, I agree with him on this occasion. Vic
it is good to see someone trying to do some good for the world as a whole. the controls of the likes of ardern and co are so close to communism that the people need a platform to ask the important questions, just hope twitter cane keep a lid on the bully boys keith
Not sure if Musk owning Twitter will help though? Peter
And it should always be so but our communist government don’t think so The people will get what they deserve if they don’t stand up to government Peter
absolutely Valda
Scorn-Piracy Terrorists. Maim-Stream Media. Presstitutes. Robert
N.Zers wake up and listen your country being taken over in a bloodless coup by this partnership of communist like parties.They have no majority for their race based policies.WAKE UP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE. Maurice
More now than ever. Can New Zealanders not see what happens when governments manipulate their citizens as is happening right now in Russia Laraine
Hopefully it would allow unfiltered free speech discussions on critical issues. That is, without government hidden interferance using commercial algorithms, filtering out anything that does not agree with their policies. ian
Finally we see hope and a way to oppose the “woke” narrative. Gary
1 person – 1 vote tony
Always has been Les
Big Sister is watching You! How accurate were Orwell’s predictions. Scary!! Peter
how can you have democracy if people are not allowed to voice their views. David
Until this government was elected free speech was the standard. We now have the press being paid not to tell the truth which leaves the population of this country by and large ignorant of the facts. The truth must be told at all times unless of course you want to live continually under communist rule, now being partly experienced in New Zealand Tom
Who in the Srdern created this manipulation? Bruce
This socialist labour government has highlighted the need and importance for our democratic right to free speech. Darryl
Yes, yes, and yes!!! Absolutely Gail
Not what you think Joe
0bviously bob
100% colin
Now more than ever we realise both the fragility and the important importance of democracy. We have to at least acknowledge if nothing else Ardern has highlighted the vulnerability and weaknesses that can be exploited within the current system so once she has gone we can not only repair the damage but ensure no future corrupt or agenda driven politician can damage the New Zealand way of life in the same way again. Lena
Definitely, it is what our Society was founded on. Dianne
These false “experts” need to be made accountable – lying for profit. Peter
Unfortunately this Labour government which is led by a communist has been using the corrupt Biden led government as a role model which will ultimately destroy New Zealand as we once knew it. Roger
Absolutely crucial. Caren
but not owned or manipulated by him or any of his cronnies money is not an example of being clever or bright these oligarchs have one agenda to keep their wealth and the to turn the world economy into a fuedal one owned by them Anthony
One only has to see the lies been created by the western media to fit the Pentagons narrative regarding Ukraine and the neo nazis that are suppose to be the good guys. Sven
YES, very much so. But more importantly is for parents to ensure that their children are taught the truth on matters of proper social expectations from individual behavior to group co-operation for our nation’s harmonious and successful way forward. Also very important is to ensure that the truth of what has actually happened in the past that has shaped our society as it is today is made available to one and all throughout our fair nation . It’s up to all of us in the NZCPR family to spread the word to far and wide to all of those who need to know. Let’s make it happen…….. Garry
Yes, yes yes Kristene
Without free speech we do not have a democracy. Elizabeth
Absolutely imperative if we are not to lose our democracy and become a banana republic Helen
It’s the erosion of free speech through the government’s media slush fund that is enabling so much of what is happening to be unnoticed by the public. Thank goodness for NZCPR! Roger
I agree that free speech (within the bounds of the law) is a fundamental human right, and and is a support pillar for a healthy and robust democracy. tony
Absolutely Robbie
Absolutely, our Democracy depends on it. There is too much propaganda from our current Government. It is dividing New Zealand. Elaine
Thank God for the likes of Elon Musk. He can’t be cancelled by the mob nor can they control him and he’s unafraid. He’s far from perfect but, he represents some of the better aspects of a free society. John
Elon for PM! Neville
With out free speech, the nation only becomes a puppet of the Government. Don
I agree this is incredibly important and know from my medical background that dissenting comment concerning the pandemic management and spin was suppressed leading to severe societal disruption for no good reason. Steve
Very basic requirement. Murray
Totally, absolutely! Love Elon Musk and hope he is successful. Brenda
Absolutely fundamental. Every dictatorship today and throughout history has controlled or eliminated free speech Frank
The fight for freedom and the right not to be lied to by our “leaders” continues…. Roy
Axiomatic john
I do not trust anything I hear out of the mouths of our politicians or what I read. Sad really, and I have grave fears for the future of this country under this administration. Murray
Musk is 100% correct. I recently had a public FB post removed with the notation not fact checked. The only unverifiable fact was that average age expectancy of Maori on 6 February 1840 was 30 years. I obtained this information from reading history books. These invisible people do not want any views challenging separatist agenda being published by either the Fourth Estate or social media. Chris
Bring forward the elections and may this present band of incompetent socialists be laid to rest. Ken
Elon Musk was born into Apartrheid South Africa. Imagine how stifled he’d have been if he hadn’t escaped that restrictive society. Geoff
Essential….in all areas of society!! Rick
it goes without saying….. Graeme
EM is quoted as saying free speech is someone you don’t like being able to say something you don’t like. I don’t like Ardern, and she says things I don’t like, but I don’t think free speech is alive and well in NZ right now Carol
Have heard no rational argument to the contrary ! Michael
True Mike
This Stalinist government and its racist enablers must be run out of town at our first opportunity – WHENEVER that is!? Paul
Govt. funding of news outlet should displayed in every publication. Bryan
Absolutely. Anything that can be done to fight back against Comrade Jacindas campaign to suppress the public must be supported. Curtailing free speech is the thin edge of the wedge of Communism. Urban
He can do it! John
What makes these clowns at the so called “top” so clever that only they know what we should be allowed to think, write, or say ? Tony
Who wouldn’t agree with that. Oh, that’s right, our current Labour government, the Greens and the Maori Party. The extreme Left in NZ. Derek
It is hard to believe that all over the world people have lost the right to speak freely. The world needs someone like Elon Musk that can stand up to this BS. Murray
Absolutely. dave
We all agree to that statement. The lingering question is though: Who controls Elon Musk???????? Michael
Where is Arderns authority to spend public monies on propaganda? Kevin
We have lost this in NZ with the MSM now puppet s John
Labour need be removed form POWER Urgently As the saying goes total power corrupts and the Labour Government are corrupt Carl
Absolutely, without free speech there is no accountability. Trevor
Absolutely. The control of the media in NZ under Labour is unprecedented June
absolutely Doug
the basis of democracy which has been badly damaged by this totally incompetent govt mark
Thanks for the article and standing up for democracy and freedom speech John
Absolutely!! Bravo Elon, one of my idols to admire. Tony
This has got to be a no-brainer if we do not want to live with constant lies Roger
stands alone to reason phil
This government has been misleading (lying to) the public since 2017. Vonne
Only the self deluded woke would vote no Collin
There is no other option for New Zealand’s harmonious future. Nev
Clearly the “mushroom principle” of keeping us in the dark and feeding us with shit” is endemic of this govt.Thank God for this forum where free speech and genuine enquiry into important issues is paramount Mel
Elon also places a very high value on truth. Stuart
This Government massages and manipulates the truth. They have no mandate for the health reforms by their election as these were hidden from the public. at election time. They have no vote of approval for them from the public as the public was specifically cut out of a vote. Now we have Robertson about to throw a petrol bomb on inflation with a $6 billion spendup. A large chunk of this will be going to pay for the health reforms. This of course will mean at least another 1 percent interest rate rise which of course will mean higher mortgages and rents yet again. I say at least 1 percent rise as I don’t believe bozo Roberson knows what he is doing, and is having his splurge merely to satisfy Labour Party communist dogma. Remember this is your tax money and you have been cut out of any say in the spending of it. Inflation is already looking like it’s going to get away and if it does maybe we can start spending Kiwi Reichmarks and have soup kitchen queues a mile long. How irresponsible of Red Rob to take this ill founded chance with the economy. Terry
However, what Elon Musk considers to be freedom of speech and what the public perception of it is could be worlds apart.Given his obsession with AI,I don’t know if he can be trusted. Janet
Free speech must be protected at all costs so thumbs up to Elon Musk for his attempt to buy a media platform that has strayed from being unbiased and fair. Barbara
Of course it is. Freedom of speech is an absolute necessity. Eric
It is essential and anything less is frightening! Ron
Free speech is the cornerstone of democracy and must be defended by everyone. Mark
My letter to the editor of the Otago Daily Times Re TV1 employing an obese Maori woman presenter to normalise obesity and Maori obesity and that it was was harmful to the health of New Zealanders, was rejected as they do not print attacks on individuals. I was complaining about the television company, not the woman! My opinion was stifled Lynne
Absolutely. When government controls speech, we become communist. The government needs to stay out of our rights to freedom of speech. Christine
I am deeply disturbed by this lousy government controlling the media and spinning the undemocratic Legislation it is attempting to pass,. Ian
You do not have to defend the Truth – The need for so many consultants paid with the press – evidences deception. very expensive mistakes are being made . Maurice
Free speech is under attack by vested interests pushing their ideological barrows Geoff
Interesting to read the elusive and paywalled Richard Harman, reputedly left of left wing Pamela
This has been & continues to be demonstrated by Ardern and her dishonest bunch of followers, and that it is becoming increasingly widespread by corrupt elements in the media. The civil service is apparently riddled with it. Frank
I absolutely agree with Elon Musk. At present I struggle to find truth from mainstream media and am distrustful of their spin on almost everything that amounts to news. Bring it on, Elon. Tony
Absolutely the bedrock of a free society- doesn’t really happen but must be strived for! Thank you Elon Musk JC
Absolutely ! When Government has any level of restriction on free speech, you are heading for dictatorship. Look at Russia right now, as an example. Hugh
The influence of the government funding media is being felt with no investigative journalism or critical commentary of the government’s actions Gaire
Cancel culture is cancelling our freedom to be responsible for our actions. If there is no past then there is no future. Ken
We are one nation one people, that needs to prevail. Let history be history. Mat
Yes! we need free speech in NZ mike
Free speech is imperative in a democracy.We are still a democracy??? Nicky 
yes, Yes, YES! John
As Larry said we need people in positions of power to run with what Elon Musk is standing for. With out free speech the country & the rest of the world are never going to have any form of democracy or legal, secure & honestly controlled voting systems, especially like the last U.S. election farce. Also free speech will stifle the paid & bought for media. Allen
Remember when it was possible to write and read Letters to the Editor? Elizabeth
Yes. Free speech is the bottom line. When it’s gone, slavery reigns. Do not forget that Musk has taken a lot of American taxpayers money AND money from Shanghai China. Communist China’s dictatorship is not into free speech so what is going on here? Where their money goes, so goes their instructions. Don
People need to be exposed to more points of view than the government’s to be able to vote intelligently Dorothy
Yes, absolutely it is Carolyn
You have to have free speech Mike
A true Democracy must have constructive free speech Roydon
We need to get rid of the woke cancel culture Ihaia
Absolutely. Jack
Needed now more than ever before.. Bob
Nazi Germany and Soviet block countries all saw/see free speech as an impediment to their goals and stopped it. Would Jacinda be happy living under their regimes I ask myself? I think not so why do it to us? alastair
Your column says it all Roger
Free speech— which in unmonitored or recorded by the state, any of its institutions or proxies, or passed to third parties. FACE TO FACE interactions must be restored to all bureaucracies to guarantee that no interaction is recorded:::: THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH NZ IMMIGRATION where offices have been closed (Manukau!!!!) Charles
Thank God someone is coming forward who can challenge all this stupidity. Bev
Free speech fundamental to democracy Joe
Democracy may not be perfect but it is better than any of the alternatives Peter
Absolutely, we must counter act these stupid ‘woke ‘ cretins to get back to living a normal life again. Peter
I’m so concerned how the worlds heading, just the horrible crime waves in NZ, Time for an over through? Ian
NZ on verge of losing democracy. Arden Subversive Jeff
Please retain free speech cancel govt influence over media. John
Absolutely. Anyone who has read George Orwell can watch fiction transforming into fact. It is a great pity that the protesters were painted as mad racist white supremacists manipulated by fake news BY THE DYNAMO OF FAKE NEWS in which ACT were complicit by their silence. Lets hope for an improved model of transparency going forward. Piet
This government, and Ardern in particular, have spent millions manipulating the media and are intent of shutting up any opposition to their narrative. This is the most divisive and corrupt government this country has ever seen. I only hope that they reap what they have sown when the average kiwi finally finds out the truth. Phill
First amendment. Doug
Goes without saying, but it is incredible that there is such a significant section of society prepared to endorse the ‘cancel culture’. Rod
the mans got that right Noel
This is what we have fought for! Philip
Absolutely free speech is a must. We need to fight to retain our rights and democracy. We have minds and we are not puppets for the government to pull our strings. Jackie
Absolutely BUT who monitors FREE SPEACH and FAKE NEWS ? dave
So well said in your article Lew
Free speech is an absolute cornerstone of democracy. For someone of Elon Musk’s standing to come out and say this, as well as putting money up to purchase twitter and open it up will be sending shivers down the spine of all those who are preparing the free world to lose those freedoms. Go Elon! Trevor
and an independent 4th estate is critical jeremy
It is the cornerstone of democracy. John
Absolutely Bill
Basic Graeme
Without free speak we are trapped animals with no voice. Gagging us, like the media has been is a criminal act. Carol
Elon Musk is sooo right with regard to FREE SPEECH Keith
Absolutely for free speech. Bring it on Elon. Dianne
I agree with Dr. Newman’s assessment of the situation in New Zealand and Elon Musk’s’ statements. Only he has the financial ability to actually purchase Twitter [which I do not use]’ but I do not have 100% surety of his following through on freedom if he comes under attack from Conservationists, and astronomers etc Rochelle
Anything else is fascist Matt
New Zealand definitely needs a free speech reset. The most deceitful and dishonest government in New Zealand’s history led by Jacinda Ardern needs the bright light of transparency cast over it. Enough of the lies and WEF interference !!! Donald
Absolutely! Alistair
There is one thing to do and that is to publish He Paupau so that all of NZ can see what this government is proposing. Turning us back to living in the 16th Century with Tribal rule. NZ would be a global laughing stock if it were to happen. Get rid of them as soon as we can. How about a motion of no confidence in the Labour government. Laura
Most definitely. Truth has been replaced by spin in New Zealand. We must get this Government off the front benches and out the back door. graeme
I get more depressed the longer this Government is in power. It is time for every New Zealander to take back their rights to freedom and free speech. Helen
He has his values right, we need more like him colin
Words cannot harm you. The pen is not the weapon here. Ray
Without question. David
Get rid of the racist propaganda Gareth
This man is utterly brilliant – God’s speed Elon! John
Control of the platforms by government or corporations both impair freedom of speech. Charles
Elon is the messiah Ed
Yeah Nah. There is a limit on free speech in line with what is tolerable in society. The hate from some and the manipulation to do harm is not part of a tolerant society. Either is control by deception. The sovereign values of a society must be maintained. David
Lets get free speech and stop the biased reporting RICHard
Absolutely! The sooner the better! This gov are blatant liers, people need to wake up to the worst government in NZ history! Peter
yes.very much so. gale
I do not want the scale of manipulation of facts we have experienced, and paid for, from the Ardern government. The dollars paid for spin, around Covid, THree Waters, and the absolutely dumb stuff from The NZ Transport Agency as examples are deeply resented by me. I do not wish to pay tax to enable any politician to spin a message about anything. I can determine fact from fiction and do not need any government, and particularly the current abysmal government, to filter or manipulate news. I do not need any censorship whatsoever. I do not need a government telling me what to think. Peter
Yes, we must have free speech in this country and the world or we will end up like Russia,China and North Korea, and we all now what happens to the public when they speak out against the Government. COLIN
Absolutely! Chris
Absolutely imperative. Labour has to go. Lyn
I feel nothing but disgust at Ardern’s blatant deceit. All politicians are, to some extent, less than honest, but her disingenuousness takes the cake. Graham
Agree Mike
Racism is NOT the problem. Culturism is. We are ALL the human race. However, there are many different cultures and those vary country to country! Each country develops its own culture gradually as similar cultures mix and make the new country’s hybrid culture . Lyn
He’s the man Barry
We all know what is going on with the media but the time has come to stop discussing it and take action. The only way to regain our freedoms is to vote these people out. They do not have K8wis best interests at heart. The MSM should be defended. They serve no useful purpose. Wait a minute though…are the other political parties going to be able to reverse all this unwanted legislation…I have my doubts as in eighteen months it will be firmly entrenched. A firm commitment from the party we vote for is necessary before we give them our vote. Sadly, from what I read, the loyalty to the party seems to be too firmly entrenched over years of traditional voting patterns. Janine
Our free speech is being eroded on a daily basis. Any article about Maori results in no comments allowed on many MSM facebook posts.  Lynne
Agree with statement, but don’t trust Musk. He is in one of the “reset agenda” elite. neil
Absolutely – free speech is essential for good democracy. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that in NZ! Roger
Since Jacinda Ardern and Labour were elected to government it feels like there is a shroud of oppression over the country. The sooner they leave office, the sooner we can start to feel free.  Fiona
Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter is the best news in ages. Let’s hope he succeeds and forces other social media – and governments – to pull back on censorship.  Stewart
This government’s manipulation and propaganda would make Putin proud. We may as well be living in Russia. It is appalling! Marty
Well done to Elon Musk for standing up for free speech. We need high profile New Zealanders to do the same! He is 100% right – democracy cannot survive when people are censored and afraid to speak their minds.  Larry