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Falun Going Going Gong?

By Steven | March 3, 2008

Can the Wellington City Council ban Falun Gong’s signs from the Botannical Gardens? In a typically thoughtful and comprehensive post, Dean Knight concludes: nope, unless they’re attached to structures. He also notes that there’s no rule as such against political signs. It seems from today’s DomPost (offline) that the council might be softening its attitude. For analysis on the extremely interesting issues about FG’s ability to participate in council-sponsored parades, keep an eye on Dean’s blog.

It’s a bit disturbing to see the council trying to control political speech using a rule that doesn’t exist. (Or has its position been misreported?) Its lack of any appreciation of the importance of political speech is also disturbing. The council has been treating it, effectively, as a nuisance, egged on by a few garden-goers who are irked by it. But there’s a very strong argument under the NZ Bill of Rights Act that political speech is actually more important, and requires greater-than-usual justification to restrict, even if the council does have the power to control such signs.

See also this terrific backgrounder by Tim Hume in the Sunday Star-Times, suggesting that Falun Gong are their own second-worst enemy.

Topics: NZ Bill of Rights Act, Protest speech | No Comments »


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