MEDIA RELEASE: Wellington Central Candidates Censor Free Speech
Wellington, September 11 2023
Wellington Central candidates Tamatha Paul (Greens) and Ibrahim Omer (Labour) have been caught red handed censoring free speech at the Mt Victoria Residents Association candidates meeting in the highly contested Wellington Central electorate.
Speak up for Women (SUFW) has received leaked emails showing that both Paul and Omer attempted to shut down pre submitted questions concerning transgender women in women’s sport and gender teaching in schools.
SUFW spokesperson Suzanne Levy said while candidates had the right to decline to answer questions, depriving all candidates of the chance to respond to issues that voters are concerned about represents a troubling trend in our democracy. It is clear pressure was brought to bear on the Mt Victoria Residents Association to omit these questions. We regard this as a gross curtailing of free speech. This is part of a pattern we see where any attempt to lobby for the rights of women and girls is shut down, even using violence and intimidation, as seen in Albert Park earlier this year.
Ms Levy stated that towards the end of the meeting when a question was asked about violence against women at the March 25th Posie Parker rally, one candidate answered and then the meeting was abruptly ended.
Given the evidence of the advantage biological males have over women in sport - The science of transgender women in sport | RNZ and the evidence from a Curia poll showing only 16% of voters support trans-identifying males in women’s sport, voters have a legitimate right to question candidates on where they stand on this issue.
The issue is even more pertinent given the Minister of Sport, Grant Robertson has trumpeted the new Sport New Zealand guidelines which allow transgender athletes to compete in the gender to which they identify. He described those opposed to this policy as petty and small minded.
SUFW strongly support keeping the women’s sports category for women only. And we know the vast majority of New Zealanders agree with us.