An anti-transgender activist still plans to come to New Zealand despite Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ comments about Immigration New Zealand’s review of whether she should be allowed in.
British activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, was due to travel to Aotearoa to speak in Auckland and Wellington for her Let Women Speak tour this weekend.
Last week, the self-described women’s rights activist drew protests in Perth and Melbourne, with some people at the events seen giving Nazi salutes and shouting slurs at counter-protesters.
Speaking to the media, Hipkins said he condemned people who used their right to free speech in a way that seeks to deliberately create division.
This, he said, applied to both the anti-transgender rights discussion and Nazi messaging.
Keen-Minshull told the Herald she hadn’t heard from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) but was aware of its review.
“I find [the review] absolutely Orwellian, insane. I would agree with [Hipkins], I condemn free speech when it’s used to silence women, for example when people say men can be women,” she said.
“Free speech is a difficult principle to uphold and I fundamentally uphold it.”
Police are also gearing up for Keen-Minshull’s planned events, telling the Herald that officers would be present to monitor and respond to any issues that may arise.
“And to minimise disruption to the wider public.”
And Keen-Minshull told the Herald she was “delighted” police would be present - claiming pro-trans activists who turned up to her events posed a threat to her attendees.
She denied her supporters posed a similar risk and claimed: “There’s not a single woman who ever attended any of my events and has been the aggressor. Middle-aged women asking for their rights are not going and intimidating anyone on the opposing side.”
But when pressed on the presence of people at her events giving Nazi salutes, Keen-Minshall said: “They’re absolutely not associated with me whatsoever.
“I absolutely abhor anything to do with Nazis. It’s preposterous they even exist in 2023.”
Immigration NZ general manager Richard Owen told the Herald Keen-Minshull is the holder of British passport, which enables her to travel to New Zealand for a temporary visit without the need to apply for a visa in advance.
“Instead, all visa-waiver nationals who wish to visit New Zealand must apply for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).”
Owen said in completing an NZeTA application the applicant must declare any previous convictions or removals/exclusions from other countries. On arrival, the holder of an NZeTA applies for a visa to enter New Zealand.
He confirmed Keen-Minshull is the holder of an NZeTA.
“INZ is now reviewing whether, in the light of the events at the weekend, Ms Keen-Minshull is still able to travel to New Zealand on the basis of the NZeTA that she holds without obtaining a visa first.”
Wellington mayor Tory Whanau told NZME Keen-Minshull’s views are strongly condemned and unwelcome in Wellington.
Whanau said although she cannot ban Keen-Minshull from speaking, she will support a counter-protest against her.
“Wellington is known as a diverse community that celebrates its rainbow and trans whānau,” she said.
“Her views are certainly not welcome.
“These views are dangerous and harmful for our community, and I am worried people are being so open about hating part of our community.
“We know with our trans whānau there is quite a high suicide rate and that’s because they are made to feel less than human – views that will be heard this weekend contribute to that.
“It is grotesque and disappointing that it’s here in our city.”
Last week the Green Party said the Government should stop the anti-transgender activist from visiting New Zealand.
Green immigration spokesman Ricardo Menendez-March told RNZ the Government needed to consider the security risks to New Zealanders.
“I do think we should be considering whether her arrival to Aotearoa could pose a security risk for our communities and the repercussions that it could have when it comes to galvanising the far right.”
RNZ reported that Australian Liberal MPs David Southwick and Brad Battin said in a joint statement that last week’s incident was “an affront to every Victorian who values our inclusive, tolerant and multicultural society”.
“The behaviours today by neo-Nazis are a deliberate attempt to incite hatred and violence and are nothing short of sickening,” it continued.
“These shameful individuals and the hateful ideology they push have no place in our state and must never be tolerated.”