NZBus cave to pressure and break the law

The New Zealand Atheist Bus campaign suffered an entertaining setback today when they announced that NZBus, the company that would be carrying most of the advertising, has now rejected the campaign.

Example ad image from the UK Campaign (thanks Jon Worth)From the announcement;

The NZ Atheist Bus Campaign, which late last year raised in excess of $20,000 from public donations, has met a set back in their plans. Nationwide bus company NZ Bus, who had tentatively approved the campaign’s ads on buses in major city centres, have now rejected them.

NZ Bus stated that they have received a number of complaints from the public about the proposed ads, which read “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Why do I consider this an entertaining setback? Well, for starters, this is going to hit the news and be a serious amount of negative feedback for NZBus. Secondly, it's also illegal.

"Illegal" you say?

It's illegal according to the Human Rights Act 1993 under Part 2 Unlawful discrimination;

  • 21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination
    • (1) For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—
      • (d) Ethical belief, which means the lack of a religious belief, whether in respect of a particular religion or religions or all religions:

Further to this, it is actually illegal for NZBus to withhold goods or services on these grounds;

  • 44 Provision of goods and services
    • (1) It shall be unlawful for any person who supplies goods, facilities, or services to the public or to any section of the public—
      • (b)To treat any other person less favourably in connection with the provision of those goods, facilities, or services than would otherwise be the case,
        • by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

So yeah, entertaining. I don't see any way for NZBus to get around this one. Despite the protestations of a group of bigots intent on suppressing views they don't like, I see the campaign still going ahead.

NZBus made this decision based on the opinions of an undisclosed number of people writing in to express displeasure at the NZ Atheist Bus campaign. I would like to ask you all to do the same now. But instead of expressing displeasure at the campaign, express it at the bigotry, hypocrisy, discrimination and legal status of their decision to deny the campaign. Contact details for NZBus are here;

Finally, if you do contact NZBus; Be polite.

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