EDITORIAL

The first thing to observe about another visit by somebody with a social media following for old-fashioned views, often labelled "far right", is that Canadian Jordan Petersen has been able to hire an Auckland Council platform. He has been allowed to speak on Monday night in the Auckland Town Hall.

The second thing to note is that, like the two Canadian bloggers who wanted to hire the council's Bruce Mason Theatre in Takapuna last year, Petersen faces opposition and likely protest from people called Auckland Peace Action who call his views sexist, homophobic and deeply reactionary.

Their threat of protest was enough for Mayor Phil Goff and the council's venue managers to cancel the booking by last year's pair, whose names might not have become known beyond social media if Goff had not declared them persona non grata.

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One of them held unacceptable racial views, and the other challenged Muslim immigration. Peterson's signature "12 rules of life" look tame by comparison but other things he has said about gender politics raise the ire of Auckland Peace Action.

At least he has not been denied a council platform on account of either his views or the likelihood of protest and possible disorder.

Goff's action last year prompted a good discussion about free speech and its limits. "Hate speech", he said, was not welcome at a council venue and many agreed. But in court he took legal refuge in the risk of disorder, which gives protesters too much power.

It is reassuring that free speech prevails this time.