Man who complained to Massey University about Don Brash speaking says he's now been 'threatened'

The man who wrote to Massey University with concerns over Don Brash's event, before the cancellation, says he has been targeted by critics.

Dr Brash, a former National leader and Reserve Bank governor, was due to speak at Massey University's Politics Society in Palmerston North.

Karl Pearce wrote to Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas saying the event could be used as a platform for separatist and supremacist hate speech.

The University remains at odds with police over claims of security concerns and threats of violence. Source: 1 NEWS

While Mr Pearce did not specifically ask for Dr Brash to be banned, Prof Thomas cancelled the event citing safety concerns.

The decision came at a time of heightened tension over free speech and hate speech prompted by the visit of Canadian alt-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux to New Zealand, Prof Thomas said.

ACT Party leader David Seymour called for Ms Thomas to stand down over her decision, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it an "overreaction".

Mr Pearce told Morning Report Mr Seymour's reaction to the letter had created safety concerns for himself.

"Honestly after the fact that David Seymour took my letter, my personal letter, which was public and ran with it and completely made a huge outrage out of it, both myself and Jan [Thomas] were from there on threatened," he said.

"The Act [Party] members and not necessarily Act itself, but a lot of David Seymour's followers totally used that as a reason to incite safety concerns.

"They personally targeted me... I sit on a number of not-for-profit organisations, some of them have had threats."

Massey University Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Chris Gallavin told Morning Report the letter by Mr Pearce was "right, rational and civil".

"Others have jumped on the bandwagon in a sense and blown it up to more than what I think it is," he said.

However, the cancellation of Dr Brash's event went against the important role universities played in free speech, Mr Gallavin said.

"A university plays a very important role in modelling civil and rational discussion and debate over tough topics in an environment where in the world we seem to have lost our ability to disagree well.

"Without [debate and discussion] no amount of police or security will be able to protect us from the fallout of ever-increasing polarisation of views."

However, Mr Gallavin said there were boundaries to freedom of speech too.

"Unfortunately freedom of speech, or fortunately, we do have something called freedom of speech that allows people to say unpopular things ... and there's limits on that ... and hate speech is one of the limits."

'The Streisand effect'

Critic magazine editor Joel MacManus said that Massey's action was similar to what happened recently when a controversial copy of Critic was banned and destroyed.

"You try to ban something people want it more ... That's exactly the same thing that happened here and Massey should have predicted that."

AUT Senior lecturer Ella Henry told Morning Report the university's actions stimulated more people to speak up.

"I do think that Massey has probably created more of a spin for Don Brash than actually try to make a moral stand," she said.

She also compared it to when his criticism of the use of Te Reo Māori on RNZ actually resulted in more people standing up for the language.

"What I think is most interesting about Don Brash's stance on te reo is that his decision was so extraordinary that it started a conversation that continues today ... he's got more people talking about why te reo is important."

Mr Brash was due to speak at the university, but had his speech cancelled by Jan Thomas. Source: 1 NEWS



Sneak peek inside NZ's first 'smart hotel' in Queenstown, where phones become keys

The first fully "smart hotel" has opened its doors in New Zealand, and true to its name you're going to need a smart phone to get in.

The $15 million mi-pad hotel in the heart of Queenstrown is a six-storey, 57 room, new hotel its makers describe as "the ultimate marriage of technology, sustainability, comfort and convenience".

The mia app also enabling guests to set temperatures and mood lighting in their room, request room service, or notify hotel staff they don’t want to be disturbed. Source: Supplied

What distinguishes the smart hotel is that most administrative and logistic functions with your stay will be made via your smart phone.

Guests at the mi-pad smart hotel can adjust temperatures and mood lighting in their room via their smart phone, which also serves as a key. Source: Supplied

Guests booking their stay download the hotel’s personal app "mia" and their smartphone then becomes a room key.

This means that the traditional physical check-ins and check outs are a thing of the past.

Guests at the mi-pad smart hotel can adjust temperatures and mood lighting in their room via their smart phone, which also serves as a key. Source: Supplied

The mia app also enabling guests to set temperatures and mood lighting in their room, request room service, or notify hotel staff they don’t want to be disturbed.

Access to the hotel is available 24/7 thanks to the technology.

The mia app then serves as a kind of "personal digital concierge", say its makers MIPAD Holdings, delivering the latest information on events, activities or offers in Queenstown.

The mi-pad hotel was conceived by Queenstown property developer Lewis Gdanitz and is the product of three years of work, and 15 years of travelling research. Source: Supplied

The mi-pad hotel was conceived by Queenstown property developer Lewis Gdanitz and is the product of three years of work, and 15 years of travelling research.

Mi-pad hotel manager Kylie Hogan has 20 years' experience in international resort management, and says she hasn't seen anything like this before.

"We're offering an innovative, connected hotel experience for smart travellers who'd prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars on experiences rather than pay over the odds for accommodation," she says. 

The mi-pad is the first "smart hotel" in New Zealand and is located in the centre of Queenstown. Source: Supplied

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Spark says 5G network launching in 2020 will be 1000 times the speed of 4G - for the same cost

Spark says new 5G mobile and wireless broadband should begin rolling out to customers by 2020.

Most wireless data is currently delivered via the 4G network, but Spark said today in a briefing that once 5G and suitable radio spectrums are available they will switch from expanded 4G to implementing 5G.

More data can be delivered for less money over the 5G network, they said, and speeds as high as 1000 times current 4G rates will be available for similar costs.

An 8GB HD movie over the 4G network would take about 7 minutes at average speeds, Spark said, while the same movie over the 5G network would be streamed in less than 10 seconds.

"We have already conducted successful trials and we will launch our 5G Innovation Lab in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct in late 2018 that will allow companies to test and develop applications over a pre-commercial 5G network," Spark said.

It is expected that the first 5G-capable smartphones will begin to be sold throughout next year.

Large population centres like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are likely to receive the service first, which is due to spectrum availability, Spark said.

Spark said 5G will be instrumental in the implementation of technology like autonomous cars, instant translation, IOT (smart devices like fridges, door locks, bike locks etc) and more.

A man holds an iPhone mobile phone handset.
A man holds an iPhone mobile phone handset. Source: File Image