LIVE: Govt plans new law for hate speech

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi. File image/SunLive.

Hate speech will become a criminal offence and anyone convicted could face harsher punishment, under proposed legislative changes.

Watch Justice Minister Kris Faafoi and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan making the announcement here:

This morning the government has released for public consultation its long-awaited plan for the laws governing hate speech.

The plan is part of the government's work to strengthen social cohesion, in response to the Royal Commission of inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi says abusive or threatening speech that incites can divide communities.

"Building social cohesion, inclusion and valuing diversity can also be a powerful means of countering the actions of those who seek to spread or entrench discrimination and hatred."

Protecting free speech and protecting people from hate speech will require careful consideration and a wide range of input, says Faafoi.

Punishment may increase

The government is considering creating a new, clearer hate speech offence in the Crimes Act, removing it from the Human Rights Act.

That would mean anyone who "intentionally stirs up, maintains or normalises hatred against a protected group" by being "threatening, abusive or insulting, including by inciting violence" would break the law.

The punishment for hate speech offences could also increase but it's not clear by how much.

The groups protected from hate speech could also grow - the government is considering changing the language and widening the incitement provisions in the Human Rights Act.

It has not yet decided which groups will be added. That is expected to happen following public consultation.

It is currently only an offence to use speech that will "excite hostility" or "bring into contempt" a person or group on the grounds of their colour, race or ethnicity. Gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability aren't protected grounds.

The government is proposing several changes to the civil provision of the Human Rights Act, including making it illegal to incite others to discriminate against a protected group.

It also wants to amend the Human Rights Act to ensure transgender, diverse and intersex people are protected from discrimination.

The proposed changes were recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack, which found hate crime and hate speech are not adequately dealt with.

"The current laws do not appropriately recognise the culpability of hate-motivated offending, nor do they provide a workable mechanism to deal with hate speech."

The Ministry of Social Development will simultaneously consult with the public about what can be done to make New Zealand more socially cohesive.

Public submissions open today and close on 6 August.

Katie Scotcher/RNZ.




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6 Comments

A perfect example of a well-meaning idea...

Posted on 26-06-2021 16:16 | By morepork

... being ruined by the inability to understand the ramifications of it. We have a problem with people upsetting people... Don’t raise the bridge, lower the river. Instead of trying to control the uncontrollable (by legislation, anyway), why not teach people how to NOT be upset? How to deal with offensive and insulting language? Return words for words. Don’t suppress people’s right to speak their minds. Deal with what they say. It is FAR better to hear what someone thinks (even if you vehemently disagree with it...) than to have them pursue their thoughts in darkness... Sometimes you have to agree to differ, but usually a suitable compromise can be reached if people have their issues heard and discussed. Of course, Politically, nobody wants a compromise; they want their own agenda exclusively and closing dissent works well. Goodbye, Democracy...

The odd thing is..........

Posted on 25-06-2021 20:57 | By groutby

.........you rarely meet or talk to anyone who supports Jacinda or her party, and yet...they have all power....people (we) can be so disingenous....perhaps we can he honest with ourselves next time ’round?

It has begun!

Posted on 25-06-2021 15:20 | By TheCameltoeKid

They now want to control what we say and think. They want to brainwash our children with their communist left-wing ideals and re-write history. They’re confiscating firearms off otherwise law-abiding citizens. They’re now dictating what sort of car we can drive and how to cook our food. Forget the Barby and a few beers. Meanwhile if a gang member pops his cloggs They’re allowed to run riot in the name of a cultural send-off while the Police stand back and watch. So much so there’s actually a name for it, it’s called "Institutional cowardice!" This is what half of eligible voters actually voted for. But don’t worry because Jacinda will be kind and give us all a hug.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 25-06-2021 13:05 | By Tom Ranger

Firstly I do recognise that it’s a traumatic experience when someone is aggressive and screaming at you. But If people don’t talk about our differences of opinions and beliefs (as early as possible) and it just simmer’s underground...what do we think is likely to happen? If people make a hateful... or any statement. That’s an opportunity to discuss and or intervene or educate or even put on "watch". I think we should count ourselves lucky when people are only using their words to express themselves.

speech

Posted on 25-06-2021 10:58 | By dumbkof2

another nail in the coffin of free speech in this country. not that im condoning hate talk, but everyone is entitled to their opinions

Hmmm

Posted on 25-06-2021 10:09 | By Let's get real

George Orwell would be so proud. I don’t appreciate censorship and not being "allowed" to hold a dissenting opinion.

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