National MP Simon Bridges says he hopes “we never see Tiki Taane in Tauranga again.” This was after the award-winning singer was arrested while performing at Tauranga’s Illuminati nightclub on Sunday morning.
Apparently his “crime” to was provide a musical background – singing the well-known rap song F*** tha Police – during a Police visit to the nightclub.
Now I am not particularly keen on the lyrics but, Simon, it is just a song. The right of free expression, guaranteed in our Bill of Rights, does include the right to offend. As the Court of Appeal said in the Moonen case, this artistic right is “as wide as human thought and imagination.”
We have to be consistent. If we defend cultural freedom in China – see my blog last week on the arrest of artist Ai Wei Wei – we have to defend it here.
There may be more to this story than has come out so far. However, Tiki Taane is pretty adamant he did nothing wrong. He told Newtalk ZB today that the club crowd left peacefully and there was no disorder or violence. He pointed out that he’s done the song before and it’s been played on radio.