Kate Hannah's position as the director of New Zealand's Disinformation Project has come under scrutiny after a recent YouTube video exposed her fervent support of radical ideologies.
The video, by NZ channel Operation People, cites an open letter reportedly penned by Hannah to her vice chancellor at the University of Waikato in 2017, in which she states that she uses Marxism, feminism and postcolonial theory as critical theoretical approaches to "understand the world".
The influential disinformation boss also stated in the letter that Marxism, feminism and postcolonial theory are the tools she uses every day in her work and the construction of her own identity.
The video argues that these ideologies promote division and identity politics rather than unity and objective analysis.
Marxism, which evolved out of critical theory, proposes a class struggle between the working class or proletariat and the property owner class or bourgeoisie.
Postcolonial theory suggests that Western systems of governance were built by the "Western patriarchy", resulting in the oppression of other races.
Critics argue that these ideologies when taken to extremes can be divisive and promote victimhood rather than personal responsibility and that they create a narrative where certain groups are always seen as oppressors, while others are seen as victims, stifling debate and free speech.
Hannah's views have raised concerns about the objectivity and neutrality of the Disinformation Project, which has had significant influence in New Zealand political circles.
Operation People reported that Official Information Act requests reveal that the Disinformation Project's services were contracted by then PM Jacinda Ardern's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Disinformation Project promotes itself as research company with a mission of combating disinformation and promoting "truth and accuracy" in public discourse.
"Aotearoa New Zealand is experiencing an infodemic, where the Covid-19 pandemic furthered the spread of misinformation and disinformation, impacting social cohesion and over the longer term, the country’s democratic fabric and electoral integrity," the Disinformation Project states on its website.
"We help social media companies, journalists, academia, policymakers, and civil society to identify, understand, unpack and meaningfully respond to information disorders."
The controversy surrounding Hannah's beliefs and her position as the director of the Disinformation Project underscores the ongoing debate over the role of radical ideology in public discourse as New Zealand's censorship actions continue to draw global attention.