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Source: Speak up for Women

Christchurch 27 May 2021 – Speak Up For Women, a women’s group, have been barred from holding events at Christchurch City Libraries.


The group is holding community events around the country, throughout June, to discuss the sex self-identification clauses within the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill, which the Government has indicated is to be passed this year.


“Christchurch City Libraries has sent a clear message that their customers can’t talk about legislation or politics here. The people of Christchurch deserve their right to freedom of assembly and speech to be recognised and respected in the libraries that belong to them” Speak Up For Women spokesperson Georgina Blackmore says. 


The venue was booked in early May, the group says. Three weeks later, they received an email from Library management saying that the Library was refusing the booking, as “the subject matter of this event may be in conflict with Christchurch City Libraries’ Customer Code of Conduct, particularly our commitment to providing “a safe and welcoming environment.”


Ms Blackmore says, “Interfering with democracy and thwarting the rights of the people of Christchurch is the real offense happening here. The beliefs of a small handful of people are now held in higher regard than the Bill of Rights. The people of Christchurch should be deeply concerned.”


“We have encountered this kind of thing before, where a few political opponents target a venue to stop us from being able to meet and talk there. We challenge the Library to produce evidence of anything our organisation has said or done that could possibly conflict with their Code of Conduct.


“It is shocking that activists are able to exert such control over central and local government organisations. They mischaracterise us and our reasons for wanting to have these discussions when really we are just women who want to discuss how this Bill would impact women and girls.”


“We will be announcing a new venue for our Christchurch meeting later this week.”



Speak Up For Women’s event schedule:


About Speak Up For Women   

Speak Up For Women formed in 2018 in opposition to the government’s sex self-identification proposals in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill.  Speak Up For Women’s campaign platform – that there was inadequate public consultation, and the Bill risked unintended consequences for women’s sex-based rights – was ultimately accepted by Minister Martin after taking legal advice, and the proposal was withdrawn. Speak Up For Women is a diverse group of ordinary New Zealanders including teachers, academics, health professionals, care workers, activists, lawyers and students with a shared interest in the rights of women and girls.