Kia ora Michael,
I am sure you have received numerous emails already regarding the visit of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka Posie Parker) to Aotearoa. I felt that as the author of a recent book on New Zealand’s far-right and adjacent movements, I could provide some additional context to this issue.
The sieg heiling neo-Nazis who turned up at Keen-Minshull’s speaking event in Victoria are a known group. They are the Nationalist Socialist Network (NSN) led by Tom Sewell. Sewell made clear that the group attended to support the anti-transgender event, posting to the social media platform Telegram that they acted as a “vanguard” against the “constant paedophilic agenda”. He ended the post saying “paedophiles deserve destruction, and the only solution to this sickness is white revolution!”
Describing the LGBTQIA+ community as paedophiles or “groomers” has become a common dehumanisation tactic.
Sewell previously led a group known as the Lad’s Society. Another Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, was an active member of the Lad’s Society Facebook group. In 2017 Sewell attempted to recruit Tarrant to a group aiming to create a “parallel society” of only white people. Tarrant turned him down, as he was planning to move to New Zealand. You are of course familiar with what Tarrant did when he got here.
Keen-Minshull may not have invited the NSN to her rally, but she has previously been criticised for appearing on the YouTube channel of Jean-Francois Gariepy, a far-right content creator who advocates for a “white ethno-state”, and for praising former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson. She’s made numerous bigoted comments on social media about Pakistani Muslims in the UK. That a group like the NSN would feel they have common cause with her is not a surprise.
In my book, I quote Jason Stanley, the author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, “transphobia has moved to the centre of fascist politics as people recognise it is a method to create a cross-racial coalition against democracy”. Utilising and growing transphobia as a method of far-right organising has been increasing for the past several years. In 2019 I sat in the audience at a public meeting where the speaker waved a copy of Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin while yelling about how “they” are coming for our children. Notably, the MC of that meeting is planning to speak at both of Keen-Minshull’s New Zealand events.
In the years since that meeting, the building used by the groups Rainbow Youth and Gender Dynamix in Tauranga has been burned down, an LGBTQIA+ space on the West Coast had its pride flag burned and the building graffitied with homophobic and anti-semitic slogans, drag performers have received death threats and had their events met with protests, including a recent one in Christchurch organised by former National Front leader Kyle Chapman.
Keen-Minshull’s New Zealand events are being promoted by Counterspin Media, whose directors are going through court on objectionable publication charges, relating to their promotion of a “documentary” claiming the 2019 mosque shootings were a hoax.
I also quote your own words in my book. During the occupation of parliament grounds in 2022 you implored the parties on the right of the house to “not give succour and comfort to an emergent and dangerous far-right movement.”
When deciding whether Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull is someone who should be provided with a visa to enter Aotearoa New Zealand, I ask that you remember those words.
Byron Clark is a writer, historian and activist from Ōtautahi Christchurch. His book, “Fear”, maps New Zealand’s alt-right underworld.
This open letter was first published on Feijoa Dispatch and has been republished with permission.