- Voices for Freedom was founded in 2020 in response to the Government’s COVID restrictions.
- Since then they’ve been attacked fiercely by the media and Government, with outrageous comparisons.
- There’s no evidence they’ve committed crimes unless you consider challenging Government intrusion a crime.
- They’re now set to launch “Reality Check Radio”.
Who are Voices For Freedom?
Voices For Freedom was formed in 2020 in opposition to the NZ Government’s COVID response policies. The not-for-profit group’s founders are Claire Deeks, Libby Johnson and Alia Bland. The women describe themselves as “Kiwi mums” and have backgrounds ranging from business and education to law and activism.
The group have organised campaigns to push back against official narratives surrounding COVID. They’ve staged several high profile protests and encouraged members to stand for local council in order to disrupt the status quo.
Since their founding, the organisation has moved beyond discussing just COVID and into other areas such as Three Waters. The group uses email, social media and is poised to launch Reality Check Radio to broaden its reach. Probably NZ’s most popular dissident group, they report having over 100,000 members.
In the media and Government crosshairs
Voices for Freedom’s penchant for clever communications and organising protests, events and campaigns have put them in the cross hairs of the Government and mainstream media. Makers of a Government funded hit-piece from Stuff entitled Fire and Fury claimed the group is “driving a violent, misinformed NZ”.
The Stuff “journalists” never interviewed anyone from Voices For Freedom but the over the top rhetoric is justified because the group is (according to the media) “widely held (to be) responsible for inciting the violence” during the 2022 Wellington Protest. That claim has never been tested in any objective way and reads like a defamation action.
Of course, as with most any group that is not tightly controlled, there are always going to be some in it who hold exotic views. But it is unfair to paint the whole community with those views.
The Disinformation Project (TDP) director Kate Hannah labels Voices For Freedom as part of the “New Zealand’s misinformation dozen”.
Hannah suggests that behind the group’s seemingly harmless facade may be something sinister. But TDP has its own credibility issues. Hannah cites Marxism as central to her identity and she says her suspicions about the group’s founders are at least partly based on their interests in health and wellness.
David Fisher of the NZ Herald was so concerned that he encouraged readers to “tell police” for even receiving a Voices For Freedom pamphlet.
In a 2021 article Newshub attempted to debunk Voices For Freedom’s COVID claims on masks being useless. They may have been peddling misinformation themselves. Recent reports vindicate the group’s position as reasonable.
Is Voices For Freedom a threat to national security?
The super-heated trash talk aimed at Voices For Freedom comes amid a backdrop of Government officials working to control the narrative in the wake of their polarising COVID response.
Examples include Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt railing against “a tsunami of toxic misinformation and disinformation”.
But are Hunt’s “insights” really just part of the mob rule/cancel culture attempt to silence Voices For Freedom? And is that happening because they feel the group is effective at challenging the Government’s narrative?