Censorship!!!

The StS has been accused or many things over the course of this fiasco, and denial of freedoms of opinion or free and frank debate has been at the heart of it. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that the StS has open debate at the heart of its intentions.

I can now confirm that the StS engages in full censorship. I have recently been silly enough to think that their website is in some way a forum to debate the issues that terrifies them so, but this indeed isn’t the case.

At the post http://www.stopthestadium.org.nz/index.php/2009/04/12/councillors-reject-stadium-meeting/ I made the following comment:

#2 Paul Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.April 14th, 2009 at 9:37 pm

“it wasn’t a debate set up for that”
and that is the point exactly there never has been a debate about the stadium, there have been entrenched opinions with sod all consideration for the facts or considered opinion…

But go to the web site today and comment number 2 is indeed not mine but:

#2 matty_S Says:
April 14th, 2009 at 9:28 pm
Even I, as a stadium proponent, have to agree with you on this one Peter..

So the MtM show, decrying the death of democracy and freedom of speech are the height of hypocrisy, and as per usual unless you are singing from the same hymn book, your opinion is worthless and must be silenced. This is of course no foundation for a free and frank democracy. Unlike this site, in which a conscious decision was made to invite Elizabeth a prominent and intelligent Anti-Stadium campaigner, if you are madly following the ‘low-risk’ Bev Butler there is no way on god’s clean earth that you are getting a balanced and open view of the stadium development. The Media needs to wake up to her arrogant stupidity and expose her for the frothing mad confused thing she is.

Another sad consequence of this typically dreadful decision is that people can make bloody fools of themselves. Take for instance the comment by Ian Smith:

#8 Ian Smith Says:
April 1st, 2009 at 6:14 pm
Oh dear! ‘Just when we thought it was safe to go in the water again’, he’s back, with bells-on. Paul, you’ve surely inflicted your endless tedious semantics and voluminous…

Two things, my previous comments had been deleted, but not before Ian Smith attacked me (if you want to see voluminous try boring yourself to sleep with Ian Smith’s rants about how it was done in the good old days – great cure for insomnia). I of course could try and counter his bollocks, but then that too would be deleted. So Ian Smith ends up looking like a school bully calling names at people from the behind the back of mummy.

I wonder how the so called webmasters of the StS feel about their job description. I wonder how roots membership feels about it’s organisation partaking in Censorship? What was in the job description, “Editor and Censor of website”?

This isn’t something new for the StS, previously under Anne’s control I was even banned from their web site.

This is of course the height of hypocrisy, and every time Bev or any in the MtM decry the lack of debate on this issue, all we have to do from now on is come back with “but you delete views you don’t agree with“.

If like most agree that free and open debate is at the heart of democracy, then kiss good-bye to any thought that the StS wants to protect your democracy.

And if you ever hear bloody Bev Butler bleat on about the lack of debate on the stadium, tell her to SHUT UP!

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14 Comments

Filed under Hot air, Media, Politics, STS

14 responses to “Censorship!!!

  1. Elizabeth

    Paul said: “I wonder how the so called webmasters of the StS feel about their job description. If I have this right (and you are open to correct me) this job is being undertaken by members of the Alliance to help out Victor Billot. Result The Alliance censors debate and democracy. And to think I used to be a member of that once proud organisation – what a bloody joke.”

    You may hear from Mr Billot before too long.
    Butler mostly doesn’t communicate beyond the wording of her own press releases. So that seems safe. You won’t get any hate mail. You will get an envelope.

  2. More than happy to correct any info re the Alliance and Victor on here if wrong.

    Cool a letter from someone, will make a pleasant change from rates demands…

  3. Paul, once you have stopped foaming at the mouth, could I ask you to withdraw your statement that the “Alliance censors debate and democracy” in the interests of accuracy or perhaps sanity.

    Fact: The Alliance Party has no official connection with Stop the Stadium.

    Fact: The official position of the Alliance (decided by our local branch) is that we oppose public funding of the stadium for reasons we have outlined many times on our website, most recently at
    http://www.alliance.org.nz/index.php/2009/03/29/alliance-party-says-mass-meeting-shows-stadium-project-is-on-the-rocks/

    Fact: I have in a personal capacity assisted with the STS campaign and was previously on the committee; I also am an active member of the Alliance Party. In my case I remain supportive of STS but are no longer actively assisting the committee purely due to my other commitments. I have no idea about what you are writing about above.

    The Alliance Party (and stop the stadium) are completely separate organizations. Interestingly, some of the local ACT Party members are against the stadium too – for very different, but valid, reasons than the Alliance. But they have no official connection either.

    Both the Alliance (and stop the stadium) do share one thing. They are volunteer organizations operated on a basic budget by citizens donating their own time and money.

    Ratepayers have been forced to pay for vast amounts of stadium propaganda whether they want to or not.

    The stop the stadium movement in the broadest sense pays its own way and has operated a successful community based campaign that represents many people.

  4. Happy to remove, sorry Victor was working on StS committee version number 3198.5, of which you were a committee member, and obviously up until recently you were a prominent public figure within the StS.

    However, leave the frothing out of it Victor. How would you like it if I deleted your comments at this site and then moaned about the lack of debate.

    The StS is completely hypocritical and it needed exposing.

    The point is, whoever the webmasters are, they are seemingly happy to censor free and open public debate, and that is not a nice thing to have on one’s CV, and I was obviously mistaken that these people were Alliance members.

    Victor, your connection with the Alliance and the StS are in the public domain somewhat synonymous (rightly or wrongly), and we can debate the virtues of the public making this connection till the cows come home. But what remains is that a very prominent local political figure is happy to be part of an organisation which preaches something (open debate) yet engages in democratic practices not too dissimilar from Fiji (ouch did that hurt?). If ACT are also prepared to be guilty by association, that is their issue.

    Frothing or not, THE STS ACTIVELY CENSORS FREE AND OPEN PUBLIC DEBATE, and that in anyones books is bullshit.

  5. Personally I don’t care whether you leave my comments up or not. This is your site, and its your prerogative as to what you do with it, as is any private website.

    I don’t actually see why STS as a political group has any responsibility to publicize pro-stadium views, any more than the Carisbrook Stadium Trust publicizes anti-stadium views on its website. The fact that STS does allow extensive comments from all angles of the debate is fairly open minded.

    I note that the CST website has a link to the Stadium supporters group though – so the rates (or rent) of the thousands of local people who disagree with this project are paying for it to be forced down their throat. A little bit of “censorship” there don’t you think?

    Perhaps if you are so outraged you could ring up Malcolm Farry and ask him to get the CST to put a link in to the STS website. After all, we’re paying for it. And he is a political figure too, just like Peter Chin et al, so I wonder what exactly your point about my activities are – political figures being involved in politics – whatever next?

    Trying to compare STS with the military regime in Fiji doesn’t hurt, simply because it is such an over the top comment no one could take it seriously.

    What wild accusation next? Perhaps we are being funded by the Libyan Secret Service to destabilize the Dunedin City Council and bring down western civilization . . . who knows? Anything is possible in the imaginative world of What if . . . ?

    At the end of the day, given that pro-stadium advocates are demanding that the rest of us (the majority of ratepayers) sink their collective wealth into this project, I would have thought a better approach would include a little more humility.

    Once again, these are my own views, as I have no official capacity with STS. Just to make it perfectly clear.

  6. “I don’t actually see why STS as a political group has any responsibility to publicize pro-stadium views, any more than the Carisbrook Stadium Trust publicizes anti-stadium views on its website.”

    And therefore you don’t see the value of a fair and frank open debate. That speaks volumes.

    “The fact that STS does allow extensive comments from all angles of the debate is fairly open minded.”

    And this would be a complete and utter lie, Victor please have some integrity. By the very fact that it censors comments, demonstrates it only allows those comments which it deems useful to it’s means, not to the greater good.

    The whole problem with this development is that it has been so called ‘concerned citizens’ crusading for the people of Dunedin, but the problem is that they have been doing it with mirrors, cloaks and daggers, and I don’t give a toss which side of the debate you are on, that is no grounds for debate. The StS does not, nor has it ever really entertained the idea of a fair and frank debate, from the day’s of Anne banning me through to straight out censorship.

    You claim private site, what a load of bollocks, you can’t be private when it suits, and a voice for the people when it suits, it’s either one or the other. This is a debate in which the public have unwittingly been drawn into, the whole sphere of this debate is now public domain, the fact that the StS censors views which it doesn’t agree with show the level of integrity in which they have for the real issues. It’s now a story of some megalomaniacs who are so enjoying their moment in the sun, and the truth and freedom of speech, as per usual, are the victims.

    Oh a link, that’s very generous of them. However this once again does not deflect from the fact that they do not wish to engage in a meaningful debate. It censors debate.

    “are demanding that the rest of us (the majority of ratepayers) sink their collective wealth into…”

    Water Sewage Upgrades…
    Roading…
    Council Housing…
    1080 poisoning…
    GE Trials…

    Welcome to the wonderful world of democracy. I detest all manifestations of the military, but I don’t withhold (at no risk) a portion of my tax because I disagree so. The humility of the project will be in watching the tens of thousands of people taking great pleasure and entertainment out of a wonderful facility. Bev has tried the ‘morality’ of the project, and the simple fact of the matter is this project won’t put people on the streets, it won’t hurt the collective good of the citizenship, even the so called coveted Peer Reviews didn’t say stop this will hurt the people.

    The fact still remains that the StS is being completely hypocritical, decrying the death of democracy on one hand, while destroying one of the tenants of a free and open democracy – free speech, and there is no hiding from that. Censorship is Censorship be it on a private site, or in the public sphere.

    I don’t agree with, or might not accept the word of Anti-Stadium lobby posting at this site (and there are some bloody good arguments which I would dearly love explored further by experts), but in the name of a free and frank debate, anyone will be welcome to make their comments here. I don’t see this as a private site, it is a site for the good people of Dunedin to be welcomed, air their views, have some of them shot down if necessary, others heard. Sorry but this site is showing more collective ideals than anything displayed by the StS or the Alliance to date.

    Finally “Lybian Secret Service” sorry you (the Anti-Loby) beat me to that one by telling the good people of Dunedin that this would be a target for terrorists. I can’t claim credit for that sort of stupidity, Bev’s doing this work for you guys.

  7. Thanks for clarifying Victor’s membership status, who can keep up? However I do have some beef with the Alliance, a once proud forum for leftist thought has since long lost any credibility with it’s continued dogmatic approach to discourse over this issue.

    You are dead right, membership of the StS isn’t a crime, however in the light of the nasty and somewhat violent behaviour of it’s ruling council, it’s open willingness to seek anything less than the truth (presenting less than factual data and conclusions), I would be humiliated to be still associated with that lot.

  8. Denny Crane? He has mad cow

    {…his mad cow’s getting worse, Alan Shore’s heading to the Supreme Court of the United States to get Denny access to a non-FDA approved drug that may slow down his Alzheimer’s…after which Denny intends heading to Russia…}

    {Boston Legal and House on the same night is more uplifting than Otago stadium}

  9. Well, you didn’t answer my substantive point.

    Which is, why are we forced to pay for the stadium propaganda, but are not permitted to advance anti- stadium views on the CST or DCC website for example?

    This comes to the core of it – not whether you had a comment zapped on the STS website (big deal).

    After all, all stop the stadium members are paying through their rates and rent to subsidize the pro stadium propaganda – but we aren’t taking your money to advance our views.

    Don’t go on about important local services of the councils and compare them to the Stadium. You should know better. The city must have sewerage treatment. It doesn’t need a stadium. I personally support council social spending and even a degree of spending on sports and recreation facilities; within reason. The stadium project is not within reason and will in fact endanger spending on other areas. The global evidence is overwhelmingly that these things are risky propositions at best, even in larger cities.

    I’m not sure what your point is about the Alliance. We are still a forum for leftist thought. The decision to oppose the stadium was a collective and democratic one by our members; more than you could say for the decision about the stadium, which has never been put before the people. If you regard the stadium as the single issue determining the future of New Zealand which you base your political support on, then you really have lost perspective.

    Surely even you can understand why people are so dismayed at the behaviour of councillors on this one. It is not a run of the mill spending decision: it is an enormous project which has huge implications for the city. The project has changed substantially since an election was last held, as has the external economic situation. Yet the good ship SS Titanic/Awatea keeps on churning on towards the iceberg of fiscal and political oblivion.

    Stop trying to compare STS with military thugs. This is like the right wingers who always go on about Helen Clark being a “communist dictator” etc – it shows political ignorance and a lack of respect towards the people who actually do have to contend with living under military dictators.

  10. Victor,

    and you don’t seem to get the fact that you calling it propaganda doesn’t make it so.

    I haven’t had a comment zapped, all comments from myself are CENSORED.

    You say so what, I say hypocrites. You can’t cry free speech and silence dissenting voice.

    Advertising of Stadium memberships and building awareness is not propaganda, this analysis is a classic fall back to socialist dogmatic of the issue, and isn’t really helping anyone. It is the role of the CST to push for membership and or public awareness of the development. It is the role of the council to produce the right facts. It is not the role of these organisations to tell the world that the sea will inundate the area or that the glass roof will fall on people and kill them.

    The thing is, and once again you don’t really seem to get the idea of the collective nature of society (rather ironic for a leftist organisation). There are many things that the governments and councils pay for which members will disagree with, yet one has to live with it. I abhor the Military, others willingly sign up for duty. I think that spending millions of dollars to save a couple of hundred lives on the road, yet tolerance of 5000 deaths including 1500 innocent people through the social and state acceptance of tobacco, is particularly hypocritical.

    I WILL go on about the importance that a major modern (in the new definition of term) infrastructure component can play in society. This possibly goes to the heart of the issue. I will argue till the cows come home that a modern progressive society must include such developments. To say that a mindset of what is a healthy competitive and innovative modern infrastructure is needs shaking up is an understatement.

    NO the world isn’t riddled with failed ‘vanity stadiums’ as Rob Hamlin calls them, this is the perception that some have pushed, but for every example that can be produced, I can produce a counter to that (made even easier these days with the web).

    Ah the collective might is right argument. That myth was thrown out the window years ago. With the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, the might was certainly not right. They were democratically in the majority, but they were of course not right. The majority of the public agreed with Helen and the Foreshore and Seabed issue (in fact they were misled), yet in law and morally they were wrong. Might is not always right even in the guise of so called Democracy.

    I remember a certain local body election in which a stadium development was the number 1 issue, and councillors were voted in or out. A pro stadium council was given a mandate by the people. As for the crap surrounding polls etc, IF (and paint these in 50ft high letters), IF there had been a free and fair debate on the stadium, with all of the information forthcoming from the CST or council, and without the lies from the StS, then I would have taken note of the polls, but if you believe for one minute that any poll taken on this subject in Dunedin was neutral you are delusional. I know people who voted no in that poll simply because they don’t like the Mayor – how is that a fair reflection of the public support. Just 2 weeks ago after first game of football for the season, there was a guy who voted no on the poll because the foundations couldn’t handle the glass roof and it was doomed to fail structurally. How the hell is that an informed decision based on facts.

    You tell me WHAT has changed substantially since the last election. There is a $10m price difference and that is about it.

    I will compare the StS with any organisation which ignores the truth, worse manipulates the public with lies and misinformation and censors public debate. No I am not belittling people who have to live under said regimes. The StS is belittling the intelligence of the good people of this city with the bullshit campaign of lies and disinformation they have been running from day one. Then of course there has been the rather Violent threats against people who seem to cross the path of those opposing the stadium. In my world, censorship, misinformation and threats of violence be it from small community organisations or governmental level can not be distinguished from each other.

    Take for instance the inaugural meeting in which my pen was going so bloody fast trying to keep up with the myths and misinformation packaged as fact. What else are you doing to the people if not taking them for fools by organising a meeting to discuss something (yes) very important, and you proceed to tell them that it will have a capacity of 20,000 and declining, it will cost $500m, the grass won’t grow. Seriously what are you doing to these people? Rob Hamlin told us that Twickenham was a single use stadium and that Rogers Centre in Toronto was a failure. I of course was a twat and had my iPhone with me. Two quick google searches to the truth blew these myths out of the water, but the rest of the people there that night we led to believe this was the case. From day one they were told that this, that and the other were the truth, when the only thing that was truthful about that meeting was the fact that this is a massive public investment scheme and much caution must be taken.

    Then there was the sorry case of the terrorists and sea level rising, bullshit and lies about business leaving Dunedin because of poor broadband (you want to talk genuine opportunity costs, try locating a business to Auckland where $1B NZD is lost each year in productivity to traffic congestion).

    “will in fact endanger spending on other areas”

    This is not a know fact, this is speculation. It may do, it may also see the employment of many people in a range of areas with flow-on benefits (this too isn’t know as fact, but when faced with the possibility of glass half full or empty, the world is always a better place if one can assume the more positive outlook).

    “as has the external economic situation”

    and anyone with half a brain and the wherefore is undertaking massive infrastructure and like construction projects, as interest rates, material costs and a whole raft of other facts have never been so good. You know as much as the next person that New Zealand is not experiencing the same economic turmoil as Europe and North America (even Australia), and that the consensus of economic thinking is that NZ is positioned better than most economies to be cushioned against the worst of the downturn and best placed to come out the other side faster than other economies. Last year it was material costs were too prohibitive, now they are irrelevant, how bloody convenient.

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