The not-at-all racist Auckland University European Students Association will not be at Stall 124 outside the library on March 10 during O Week as previously announced.

In a move that should put to rest once and for all any suggestion they were even slightly racist or had anything to hide, the group disbanded before it had formed rather than explain themselves or stand up for what they know is right. Or probably very wrong.

Their spokesperson, who may or may not have been speaking from his underground bunker, a german shepherd by his side, while a U-boat waited offshore to whisk him to safety, posted that "due to an extremely high number of physical threats and severe (and unfounded) accusations of racism and fascism we see that the costs outweigh the benefits to taking this club any further". I'm trying to care.

Reliable information on the AUESA was always hard to come by, although from the start you could infer a few things from their imagery and slogans. Their Facebook page had a painting called Proclamation of the German Empire, in which centre stage is taken by Prussian pin-up boy and architect of German militarism Otto von Bismarck.


There was also a portrait of Captain James Cook against the New Zealand flag, and one of those Celtic design-cum-sword thingies you'd recognise from tattoos on the torsos of skinheads who sing in bands called Stormbringer's Anvil.

The slogans include "Strength through Honour" and "Our pride is our honour and our loyalty". Big on honour then, not so big on fronting up, as there were no details on their page about who was involved.

They've said they wanted to do no more than show pride in their culture, as students of the Indian Association or the Chinese Association do for theirs. Wilkommen one, wilkommen all.

But I suspect the European focus of the group was not Spanish cooking classes or planning cycle tours of the Dordogne.

White supremacists have this much in common with the AUESA - they, too, always say they're proud of their culture. Not because they regard it as worth celebrating, but because they believe it to be supreme.

The question all this raises is whether freedom of speech should extend to hate speech. I don't think it does, as ultimately hate speech is a form of assault.

All rights are ringed around with caveats. We have laws protecting freedom of movement, but I'm not free to move into your house. So there should be no tolerance for that.

Likewise, by the way, there should be no tolerance for threats of violence against the group. Not when they're so easy to make fun of.

It has been suggested tthe AUESA is a hoax designed to incite liberal panic. But if it were, it would almost certainly have had better artwork.

And is giving them this much attention an overreaction to a group that had only a handful of likes on Facebook?

Not if it meant they didn't get to a handful plus one.

Fake news at its best from the Prime Minister this week claiming that - among other reasons - we need immigrants to fill jobs because potential local candidates are failing drug tests.

Well, at least if they're turning up for the drug tests it means they want the job, so employers can't trot out the old excuse that people just don't want to work.

Most of the drug users I know whose habits cause trouble at work are in middle management, turning up late every morning to make bad decisions thanks to overconsumption of alcohol the night before.

You have to wonder what the PM needed to divert our attention from so badly that he trotted out this discredited canard.