NZSO musician with anti-warrant links seeks board seat

A veteran New Zealand Symphony Orchestra musician who is running for Wellington City Council has links to Voices for Freedom and supported the anti-mandate occupation in Parliament.

“I’m going to get fired for this,” Nicholas Hancox told the Stuff Circuit team after speaking with them during the anti-mandate occupation in Parliament earlier this year. His words are captured in the documentary Fire and Fury.

Hancox is the Deputy Principal Viola of the NZSO and is running for Lambton/Pukehīnau Ward Council.

Hancox was off work for around six months between November and May this year because he did not have a vaccination card, an orchestra colleague said.

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He also wore a freedom-affiliated t-shirt during a chamber music rehearsal, the colleague said, but when asked about it, Hancox said he didn’t know what an “affiliated” t-shirt meant. to freedom”.

Hancox’s colleague was concerned that he did not disclose his affiliations to voters in his candidate biography.

Things obtained a copy of an email sent by Hancox to all NZSO players in December, in which he espoused his views.

In it, he linked to various newspaper articles, with one claiming that the rise in Covid-19 cases was unrelated to vaccination levels. Other academics said they had “serious concerns” about the research, which was “incomplete” and had “major methodological problems”.


Protesters and police clash early on the 23rd day of the occupation of Parliament. (Video first posted March 2022).

Hancox spoke of “unlawful discrimination” in the email and cited the NZSO’s inclusion policy.

“I am fully aware that I am speaking to you in an unstable and emotionally charged environment where any words I utter could be discredited and I could be subject to derogatory slurs such as ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ or ‘Theorist of conspiracy,'” he wrote. .

Hancox said he felt he could not speak freely, that he felt “abandoned” and that the orchestra’s union had not supported “the individual’s right to choose”.

He had seen a “weak acceptance of government orders and layers of bureaucratic coercion” and said the vaccine had been produced by a “giant foreign corporation with a dodgy history plagued by crime and fraud”.

Hancox wrote that vaccine passports were “discriminatory, selective and immoral” and he spoke of “abuse”. “It makes me sick,” he wrote. “I want to play music for free people, not a mass of scanned and verified QR codes, wiped out at checkpoints, pretending to be free citizens in a democracy.”

After Hancox was away from NZSO work for a period of six months, he was now back at work.

NZSO publicist Tom Cardy said the orchestra could not comment on individual employment matters, but he confirmed that no NZSO employee had been ‘handed over’ or ‘suspended’ because of their vaccination status.

Cardy said NZSO employees must comply with government guidance on Covid-19 and take all necessary steps to protect their health and the health of others. It would revise its Covid-19 workplace policy in October.

While employed by the NZSO, staff must refrain from “any act, omission or statement which might damage the goodwill or reputation” of the orchestra, Cardy said.

As a Crown entity, the NZSO was apolitical and employees should not do anything that would compromise or be seen to compromise the NZSO’s ability to retain the government’s trust, Cardy said.

NZSO policies state that the Crown entity is non-political and that no employee should compromise the orchestra's ability to retain the government's trust.

Latitude Creation

NZSO policies state that the Crown entity is non-political and that no employee should compromise the orchestra’s ability to retain the government’s trust.

In an interview on Friday, Hancox said he returned to Wellington from Germany in 2019 and joined the orchestra. He said he was running as an independent candidate and was not affiliated with any group.

“I prefer not to talk about any of my personal health or employment issues. … I believe in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and established medical principles of informed consent and patient-physician confidentiality … I do not believe in medical warrants.

When asked if he had been vaccinated, Hancox said it was a “personal and private matter”. “I don’t see how that’s relevant.”

In his interview with Stuff Circuit, Hancox described the mandate as a “forced vaccination.”

He said it was “very valuable” for politicians to assume that because some protesters were violent it would be dangerous for them to engage in the occupation.

It was “a very subjective description” to say that some of the protesters were openly hostile. “There are a few rotten apples in every bunch.”

Hancox also made a submission to Parliament opposing the Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill. His submission was based on a template circulated by Voices for Freedom, the anti-vaccine, anti-mandate group that claimed it wanted to make Aotearoa “ungovernable”.

A former member of the orchestra who has ties to its current members said several musicians were concerned about Hancox’s views but were afraid to speak out publicly because of his starring role.

Local election law does not require candidates to disclose their personal views on things like vaccines or mandates, but the council recommended that voters do their due diligence to ensure those elected represent them. and their community.

Additional reporting by Erin Gourley and Tom Hunt