University would let Brash speak

Don Brash
Don Brash
Don Brash, who has nominated for New Zealander of the Year, would be welcome to speak at the University of Otago if he wanted to, the vice-chancellor says.

The former National Party and Act New Zealand leader and advocate for Hobson's Pledge - a group which supports the end of ``separatism'', the abolition of Maori electorates and closing the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal - was last week banned from speaking at Massey University.

Otago vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said yesterday universities were ``places where a range of ideas should be expressed and challenged'', and Dr Brash would not be prevented from speaking at Otago if he wanted to.

``We have had many visitors to our campus from across the political and public spectrum, and Don Brash would be included in this variety of presenters,'' Prof Hayne said.

``He would be welcome to share his opinions in an organised forum.''

There would be ``checks and balances'' when it came to security and safety, as there would be with any speaker who attracted significant interest, she said.

Dr Brash spoke at a debate at the University of Auckland on Thursday, when he was initially heckled by protesters.

Prof Hayne said it was ``important that students hear different views'' .

The university had made difficult decisions around free speech before, allowing the screening of an anti-vaccination film last year.

Dr Brash, also a former Reserve Bank governor, has been nominated for New Zealander of the Year along with nine others so far, including fashion designer Annah Stretton, Team New Zealand's Peter Burling, former Green MP Sue Kedgley and mental health advocate Mike King.

Nominations close on September 17. Previous winners include equal-pay advocate Kristine Bartlett and film maker Taika Waititi.

Awards manager Glyn Taylor said the nominations reflected what New Zealanders were talking about and were interested in. - Additional reporting RNZ



This shouldn't need saying. That it does reflects the sad state of NZ universities.

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