Judgment: Moncrief-Spittle v Regional Facilities Auckland

Press Release – New Zealand High Court

IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND
AUCKLAND REGISTRY
I TE KŌTI MATUA O AOTEAROA
TĀMAKI MAKAURAU ROHE
CIV 2018-404-1501
[2019] NZHC 2399

BETWEEN
MALCOLM BRUCE MONCRIEF-SPITTLE
First applicant
DAVID CUMIN
Second applicant

AND
REGIONAL FACILITIES AUCKLAND LIMITED
First respondent
AUCKLAND COUNCIL
Second respondent
PHILIP BRUCE GOFF
Third respondent

[…]

[1] The first respondent (“RFAL”) administers various regional facilities within the second respondent’s (the “Council”) territory, including the Bruce Mason Centre, an events and performance venue at the north end of the business and entertainment strip in Auckland’s Takapuna.

[2] On 6 July 2018, RFAL cancelled an event scheduled to be held at the Bruce Mason Centre on 3 August 2018, citing health and safety considerations. The event offered a variety of priced engagements with two speakers, but was the subject of objections and threatened protest action.

[3] The applicants seek my review of that decision, for declarations accordingly. Specifically, the applicants say – against a background requirement to “facilitate rights to freely express lawful speech and opinions” – RFAL: (a) acted irrationally in concluding the event posed an unacceptable security risk, without consideration of police or organiser’s assessments of such risk or the means by which it may be avoided or mitigated;

(b) disproportionately responded to that risk by cancelling the event, unreasonably restricting the applicants’ representative exercise of freedoms of thought and expression, of association and peaceful assembly, and from discrimination on grounds of political opinion, which exercise RFAL and the Council is to facilitate in granting or terminating licences to their venues; and

(c) unlawfully was directed in its actions by the third respondent, Auckland’s Mayor, Phil Goff.

[4] I thus serially am to decide:

(a) are RFAL’s decisions susceptible to judicial review?

(b) was the decision to cancel the event such as entitles my intervention?

(c) have the applicants ‘standing’ to claim my review of the decision? and

(d) what, if any, intervention is justified?

[…]

Result

[68] The applicants’ claim is dismissed.

[…]

Full judgment: 2019NZHC2399.pdf

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