Paul is a leading NZ Sociologist and began teaching at Massey Un iversity in 1979. Some of his current research includes immigration in New Zealand, the alt-right in New Zealand, New Zealand demographics, and the Christchurch Mosque shootings.  He has written or edited 25 books during his career and is a regular commentator in news media. Paul is a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2009 he was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand Science and Technology medal.  He entitled his talk “The Politics of Vitriol”.  It was his third visit to the club.
Paul began his studies looking at The National Front in the UK and it was then when The Battle of Lewisham took place.  He now chairs a government committee looking at hate speech and how it might be dealt with.  

The internet has changed the nature of politics with unfiltered anonymous communication and its rapid circulation. You can now say things you would never have said in the past.  We now have a new age of politics with a rise in Nationalism and a decline in mass political parties.  Birth rates in the UK and NZ have plummeted.  What has emerged is the Identitarian Movement and a growth in Anti-semitism and Islamaphobia.  There are 5 million plus politicised/anti-Semitic tweets per day.  
Hate speech is difficult to deal with but we try through libel laws and defamation but we don’t have specific hate speech legislation.  Who will decide what “hate speech is”?  Sir Geoffrey Palmer says “ Free speech is an essential element of our democracy”.  
Online safety has become a huge issue particularly among young people with 11% of people targeted last year and 1 in 5 teenagers.  We cannot rely on the various platforms to self regulate.
Perhaps we need to extend the Human Rights Act and the Harmful Digital Communications Act.
All in all a very thought provoking address.