Free Speech Coalition

Update: We have now hit the $50k initial goal, so will be proceeding with legal action! Every dollar donated will now go into the legal fund – to defend free speech in New Zealand. If we can afford it, we’ll use the extra money to hire fancy lawyers to take on the Council’s big legal guns.

Defending free speech means defending the rights of people with views you might find objectionable..

We are a group of New Zealanders concerned with the decision by Auckland Council and Mayor Goff to ban Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from using Council-owned venues to speak on August 3. The ban sets a dangerous precedent for anyone who wants to express, or hear, controversial views.

We need your help, now

We are raising funds to bring judicial review proceedings against Auckland Council, who we believe are likely in breach of the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act. This is an all-or-nothing campaign: we will not charge you unless we reach our target of $50,000.


"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

Orwell George Orwell


Who is behind this website?

This website was created by a group of New Zealanders from across the political spectrum who believe free speech is a value worth defending. Some of the people involved and backing this campaign are:

  • Dr. Michael Bassett - Former Labour Party Minister
  • Dr. Don Brash - Former leader of the National and Act Parties, and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Ashley Church - Business Leader
  • Dr. David Cumin - Senior Lecturer University of Auckland
  • Melissa Derby - University of Canterbury Academic
  • Stephen Franks - Lawyer
  • Paul Moon - Professor of History Auckland University of Technology
  • Lindsay Perigo - Broadcaster
  • Rachel Poulain - Writer
  • Chris Trotter - Political Commentator
  • Jordan Williams - Lawyer
You can read our media statement here.

Why are you raising money?

We are raising money for a legal fighting fund against Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s decision (announced via Twitter) to ban two Auckland-bound Canadian speakers, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, from Council-owned venues.

We think Mr Goff and the Council’s action set a dangerous precedent: threatening the principle of free speech across New Zealand. Council facilities are paid for by all – they should operate as common carriers – not discriminate based on the personal views of those in political control.

We do not in any way endorse Mr Molyneux and Ms Southern’s views, but New Zealand should not be a place where politicians can veto a group or view having a public stage. Standing up for free speech means standing up for speech even if you personally find it repugnant.

How much do you need, and what for?

We need 50,000 NZD to launch judicial review proceedings against the Mayor Phil Goff and the Council to enforce the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and Human Rights Act (which protect freedom of speech, and discrimination based on political views).

We are advised that both Acts apply to the Council, and the Mayor acting in the performance of any public function. We will be seeking both a declaration that in excluding the speakers Mr Goff / Auckland Council broke the law, and an injunction requiring the Council to host the event that was scheduled for 3 August at the Council-owned Bruce Mason Centre.

What if Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern can’t get into New Zealand or can’t get visas?

We will continue anyway. We want a legal precedent that, except in cases of genuine ‘hate speech’ (such as calling for violence), the Mayor and Council should not be the arbiter of what views can and cannot be expressed on public property.

If you don’t reach the $50,000 target, what will happen to the money?

This is an ‘all or nothing’ campaign. If the $50,000 is not raised by 5pm Friday 13 July 2018, all funds will be returned to donors, and legal action will not proceed.

Can I donate using online banking?

Absolutely. Our account details are: 'Free Speech Coalition' 01-0527-0680196-00. When depositing please be sure to email at your contact and refund details, so that if the target is not reached we can return the funds.

If more than $50,000 is raised, or funds remain after legal action has concluded, what will they be used for?

Any surplus funds - say if the Council backs down, or there is a costs award in our favour - will be used for promoting and advancing freedom of speech and democracy within New Zealand.

Are the promoters of Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern behind this effort?

No, but we have spoken to the promoters and have their support for this effort. They advised us they cancelled the New Zealand leg of the tour only because they are unable to find an alternative venue at short notice (the Council owns the vast majority of potential venues) and would still like to come.