Political activist John Ansell is fighting back after a Rotary Club distanced themselves from his Colourblind campaign launch by cancelling his speech.
Ansell, who recently claimed the country was headed toward an "apartheid Aotearoa" was set to speak at the Rotary Club of Remuera's Monday meeting as part of his Treatygate/Colourblind State campaign.
The former marketing manager for the ACT Party first came under fire after he was forced to step down in July last year after he said Maori "have gone from stone age to the space age in 150 years and haven't said thanks".
He has also claimed the Treaty of Waitangi was an exercise in "mass brainwashing with false history" by the successive New Zealand governments.
On Friday, Rotary Club of Remuera president John Burrowes said the organisation was firmly "non-political" and media hype had seen the club "ambushed" into providing a platform for Ansell.
Ahead of Monday's meeting, Burrowes said Ansell had "stepped over the mark" after issuing his own invitation to members of the public and promoting his talk at the club as a "state launch".
"There is no way that the Rotary Club of Remuera endorses John Ansell's views, or that it ever wanted to give him a platform to launch his political aspirations," said Burrows.
"We might invite him to talk to us in the future. As business and thought leaders Rotarians like to be informed. But he will be just one of a variety of people, including politicians, which we invite to share their ideas.
In a comeback, Ansell said he was "disappointed" by being publicly accused by Burrowes.
"You expect this level of integrity from the Treaty grievance industry, but not from an eminent Rotary Club," he said.
"If Mr Burrowes had contact me personally instead of going straight to the media, he would have realised that it was a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing - a miscommunication between its committee members."
Ansell added he had "freely" given his time to Rotary club over the years and had paid for his own airfare and accommodation to Auckland after receiving the club's invitation.
"I suspect they panicked when they realised how many people wanted to come to the launch, but there are better ways of backing out than impugning the integrity of the speaker," he said.
Ansell is now trying to find another venue for this campaign's launch on Monday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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