Tonight, The Ezra Levant Show comes to you from beautiful New Zealand.
I've never been here before — it's a very long journey. As you know, I've been traveling a little bit. We went to Maui for the wildfires story, and I think we made a difference. We reported the news at a website called TheTruthAboutMaui.com.
We got ton of views, and I think we did some real journalism. I'm also very proud of the fact that our Rebel viewers crowdfunded $25,000, actually even more than that for one of the non-FEMA, citizen-led relief camps there.
I think that was a really good trip to do and I think it's something citizen journalists are good at now.
New Zealand is a small country quite far away from anywhere else. It's even far away from Australia. I grew up thinking they were right next to each other —no, it's a four hour flight from Melbourne to New Zealand.
That's quite a distance. It's about 5 million people and they're great, but they're at the edge of the world, so we don't think about them that much.
Over recent years, Jacinda Ardern, the former prime minister who resigned not that long ago, made headlines though for being one of the most strident extreme leftist globalists. And it won't surprise you to know that she's cut from the same cloth as Justin Trudeau. Being a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, she was also the head of the Socialist International Youth, which tells you a little something about her.
She took an extremely heavy hand during the lockdowns, with the pandemic, really using it as an excuse to throttle freedoms in this country. And the most terrifying part was her insistence on censorship. And we'll talk a little bit more about that soon. One of the things that I think was a proof of the authoritarianism in this country that took root under Jacinda Ardern was when our Australian chief correspondent, Avi Yemini, wanted to come here just to talk, not to make a fuss.
Well, to make a rhetorical fuss, maybe, but certainly nothing dangerous. And Ardern's government illegally banned him from coming in like he was some sort of terrorist. New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, her government, her ministry banned a journalist, a journalist, by the way, that has traveled the world on the same Australian passport.
This is the same country that is supposed to have the same heritage of freedom that we have in Canada or in its neighbour, Australia. It's the U.K. heritage of freedom and the right to dissent and the right to criticize government.
Because we were able to crowdfund lawyers. We challenged that, and Avi was allowed in. And so we're in New Zealand for the book launch of Avi's new autobiography.
It's a symbolic taking of the turf. Now, there's a lot of interesting folks in New Zealand, and just like Avi has told the story of Australia for Australians, but it was also of interest to people around the world.
I think the same is true in some ways for New Zealand too. What I mean by that is of course New Zealanders need the other side of the story. They need a more robust debate. They need more points of view allowed in New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern's authoritarianism certainly proved that.
But I think some of the things they're doing in New Zealand absolute cracking down on private firearms ownership, extreme cracking down on censorship, you know, official government misinformation and disinformation campaigns to see what's happening in New Zealand as a kind of laboratory for what the globalist want to export around the world.
For example, there was something called the “Christchurch Call” named after Christchurch, New Zealand. That's a fancy way of saying a globe, no censorship regime. That isn't a theory, that is a plan. And it came from New Zealand. And if we're not careful, it'll take root around the world. Justin Trudeau has mentioned it several times and is intent on enforcing it and he is, by the way, through various Internet regulation bills.
Bill C-11, Bill C-18, the withdrawn Bill C-36 that he says he'll reintroduce, and the as-of-yet introduced Online Harms Act. So what I'm saying is New Zealand may seem very far away and it may have a very small population, you know, literally 0.1%, not even point 0.1% of the world's population is in New Zealand, but it doesn't take a big place to be a laboratory of bad ideas.
In a moment, we're going to talk to our friend Avi Yemini, who has done important journalism in Australia and is here in New Zealand to wrap things up.
Over the course of the next couple of days — we're in Auckland today we're going to Wellington, which is the other large city in New Zealand — we're going on tour support of Abby's book and then we're going to go back to Australia and do a book event in Melbourne and then I'm coming home.
I've been away for too long, but we want to catch up on what's going on in this part of the world. We also want to say hello to and meet with budding citizen journalists here behind enemy lines.
Look, it's not that bad, but Avi makes the point that it's heading that way. So we're going to meet other citizen journalists in New Zealand.
Maybe we'll make friends with them and maybe even get some New Zealanders to give us updates from time to time. I think that Avi has shown that the Rebel News crowd funding citizen journalism model can work in other places besides Canada. And wouldn't it be fun if we had a voice and a footprint here in New Zealand to stay with us?
GUEST: Rebel News Chief Australia Correspondent Avi Yemini.