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Dr Muriel Newman

Dr Muriel Newman

Attacking Free Speech


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For the first time since MMP was introduced in 1996, New Zealand voters have given a single political party the absolute power to govern alone. Whether Labour decides to exercise that authority or share their mandate with the Greens, remains to be seen.

Whatever arrangement Labour and the Greens enter into it appears likely that our democratic right to free speech will be restricted given that both parties campaigned on strengthening hate speech laws. 

The catalyst for changing the law was last year’s Christchurch mosque tragedy when a deranged Australian gunman killed 51 people as they prayed.

The Minister of Justice Andrew Little announced the hate speech review without fanfare a month after the tragedy. Using a newspaper opinion piece, he explained that following the mosque attacks many citizens from ‘minority ethnic and religious communities’ claimed that comments on social media and other public platforms made them feel “threatened, unwelcome and alienated”.

The Minister wrote, to “consider these claims on a principled basis” he had “asked the Ministry of Justice to work with the Human Rights Commission to examine whether our laws properly balance the issues of freedom of speech and hate speech.”

He indicated the review would not be fast-tracked and would involve an opportunity for all New Zealanders to have a say on this crucially important matter: “The process should not be rushed, and I expect a report for public comment towards the end of the year.”

But no such public discussion document was produced last year.

Instead, it turns out that rather than initiating the open and transparent process for discussing the censoring of free speech indicated by the Minister, the Government opted for secret discussions, to avoid New Zealanders turning against them.

According to a Stuff report in March, “The Justice Ministry has looked at relevant aspects of the Human Rights Act, the Harmful Digital Communications Act, and sections of the Crimes Act to see what laws need to be changed. It also consulted with affected communities and reported back to Little before Christmas, with the expectation an announcement would be made shortly after.”

In other words, consultation did take place – but only with groups wanting harsher laws, not with the wider public. 

In the news story, the Ministry of Justice chief executive Andrew Kibblewhite was reported as saying that hate speech was a “tricky thing” to navigate. He said they had wanted discussions to happen “away from the political fray”, given they could “easily be derailed with so many strongly held views”. He also said they wanted to “avoid protests”.

Stuff then asked the Justice Minister for an update on progress: “The review of our hate speech laws are in the final stages. I expect there will be an announcement in a matter of weeks.”

But in the end, Andrew Little was not able to make his announcement because New Zealand First refused to support a law change that restricted New Zealanders’ right to free speech.

While Labour will have the power to push through any law change they want in the new Parliament, it is hoped that if they go ahead with their plans to strengthen hate speech laws, they will honour the commitment they made to New Zealanders, that before any changes to our free speech laws are undertaken, a full public consultation process will be held.

This is especially important since it now appears that Labour is considering establishing ‘hate crime’ as its own separate offence – similar to the situation in the UK.

According to a report on Hate Speech laws both in New Zealand and overseas that was prepared by our Human Rights Commission last year, the UK Law Commission is leading a review into their hate crime laws. A full public consultation process is now underway – details can be seen HERE.

New Zealanders’ right to free speech is enshrined in section 14 of the 1990 Bill of Rights Act: “everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.”

In 1993, those rights were tempered by the introduction of the Human Rights Act – section 61 restricts free speech by making it an offence to express ‘threatening, abusive, or insulting’ opinions likely to ‘excite hostility’ or ‘bring into contempt’ any group of persons on the grounds of ‘colour, race, or ethnic or national origins’.

Under Section 131, anyone breaching the law by inciting hostility, ill-will, contempt, or ridicule, on the grounds of ‘colour, race, or ethnic or national origins’, could face a criminal conviction: “Every person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to a fine not exceeding $7,000”.

But section 132 of the Act provides a safeguard – before proceeding to a prosecution, the express approval of the Attorney-General must be obtained.

The Human Rights Commission makes it clear that our right to free speech protects anyone making controversial or offensive remarks, only restricting those who are inciting serious ethnic tension or unrest: “Only where there is the potential for significant detriment to society can the right to freedom of expression be limited”. As a result, there has only been only one prosecution – back in 1979. 

The Commission advises that a wide range of remedies are available for anyone taking offense at someone’s remarks.

If the offending material has been published, complaints can be made to the publisher or broadcaster, as well as the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Advertising Standards Authority, or the New Zealand Press Council.

Social media platforms have now introduced a myriad of channels for lodging complaints about content.

If the offence relates to the workplace, the Commission advises, “the best action is for people to take their concern to the person’s employer… Most have codes of conduct that do not tolerate racially offensive comments.”

While protest action is lawful in New Zealand, since that too represents free expression, it is not lawful if protestors threaten violence or harm.

Threats made against people or property that cause “significant disruption of the activities of the civilian population” are an offence under section 307A of the Crimes Act, with a penalty of up to 7 years in prison.

On-line threats are also against the law, with perpetrators facing up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000, under section 22 of the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

So, despite the extensive constraints on our right to free expression that already exist, Labour appears intent on introducing more.

Labour’s election manifesto states: “Labour will extend legal protections for groups that experience hate speech, including for reasons of religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation, by ensuring that we prohibit speech that is likely to incite others to feel hostility or contempt towards these groups under the Human Rights Act 1993.”

So while the restrictions on free speech that Labour proposed last year were ostensibly to protect those ‘minority ethnic and religious communities’ who felt vulnerable in the aftermath of the Christchurch tragedy, what is now being planned is a significant expansion of hate speech protection to a number of other groups in society.

In effect, what Labour is now proposing, will enshrine identity politics into law.

With its focus on gaining special rights for so-called oppressed groups – in this case based on their religion, gender, disability, and sexual orientation – identity politics endlessly divides society, by undermining equality before the law. 

Introducing identity politics into hate speech laws will lead to a stronger and more powerful government, as the state endlessly invades our liberty, granting special privileges to some groups while denying the rights of others.

The reality is that the only way to maintain a free and cohesive society is to embrace our value as individuals and protect the institutions that empower us. That means the opposite of what Labour is planning – we need to defend equality and ensure that we are all treated the same regardless of our different characteristics and identities.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, freelance journalist Karl du Fresne warns that the attack on free speech and the embracing of identity politics is part of a wider and more sinister agenda:

“It’s no exaggeration to say that Western civilisation and Western democratic values are under attack as never before in modern history. The breadth, intensity and viciousness of this attack is breathtaking. Where it will lead is impossible to say. That will largely depend on whether society recognises what’s at stake and has the will to dig in and resist it…

“Having realised decades ago that that the fight between capitalism and classical Marxist economics was lost, the extreme left opened a new front. They attacked liberal democracy’s soft underbelly: its values, conventions, institutions and philosophical foundations. Suddenly a whole range of bedrock values, from the right to free speech… was under savage attack. The underlying purpose is to destabilise society and therefore render it amenable to radical change.”

Karl explains how the core values of our society are being undermined through a myriad of ridiculous claims, such as that Western civilisation is racist, that capitalism is evil, and that the traditional nuclear family represents oppression on a grand scale.

“Neo-Marxism takes classical Marxist analysis a whole lot further, examining every issue through the lenses not only of class but also of race, gender, sexual identity and any other potential point of difference that can be leveraged into a grievance. It marches arm-in-arm with identity politics, seeing society not as a cohesive whole, sharing common interests and aspirations, but as a seething mass of oppressed minorities struggling for liberation – hence the ever-increasing number of aggrieved groups clamouring for special recognition. The result is polarisation and fragmentation.”

Given the increasingly strident and divisive demands being made by radical activist groups as they try to impose their values onto society, protecting our right to speak freely has never been more important than it is right now.

Expressing our views, no matter how undiplomatic or clumsy, is the essence of a free society and the very reason why free speech is protected in law.

The freedom of expression is a bedrock New Zealand value. While that leads to a diversity of opinions, with people disagreeing and sometimes being offensive, that does not necessarily make it harmful. The last thing we need in New Zealand is the chilling effect of Big Brother watching – policing our speech and monitoring our every utterance, telling us which words we can and cannot use.

Hate speech laws that use the power of the state to silence unpopular views are not only dangerous and divisive, but how can anyone have confidence that they will not be designed to suppress ideas the government and their activist allies do not like?

Who will be the arbiter, deciding what is and what is not hate speech?

On matters of race, will it be our radicalised Race Relations Commissioners – Meng Foon or perhaps his predecessor Dame Susan Devoy?

On election night Jacinda Ardern promised she would govern for all New Zealanders, not just for Labour activists who are seeking to cement their special group privileges into law – at the expense of everyone else.

In fact, if Jacinda Ardern is really genuine about governing for all Kiwis, she will not strengthen our hate speech laws, but get rid of them entirely.

I will leave the last word to Salman Rushdie, the British author of The Satanic Verses, who lives under a fatwa calling for his death that was issued by Muslim fanatics in 1989: “There is no right in the world not to be offended. That right simply doesn’t exist. In a free society, an open society, people have strong opinions, and these opinions very often clash. In a democracy, we have to learn to deal with this.”

Please note – you can register for our free weekly newsletter by clicking HERE.

THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:

*Should Labour strengthen hate speech laws or remove them entirely?

 

*Poll comments are posted below.

 

*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

 

Click to view x 120

THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS

We cannot trust Labour to not encroach on free speech. David
Communism is on its way Secret police? John
We don’t need more laws in NZ, we have plenty of laws already. Jenny
We have enough dictatorship now. brianb
Concerned about just who gets to determine difference between legitimate free speech and hate speech. Is this an attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, or an attempt to cement authoritarianism upon us? Typical Labour virtue-signalling! Tony
We already have laws to deal with e.g. incitement and riot. Barend
We need free speech Naomi
Democracy is under attack and endorsing hate speech laws only exacerbates the situation Tony
I challenge Karl du Fresne to initiate a referendum for the naming of NZ, also if we are to have a review of MMP, getting rid of maori parliamentary seats. Pres. D. Trump is the only world leader who is defending Western civilization and democratic values. He has achieved much in office including Middle East peace agreements unlike the communist airhead at the top of the ticket here.. How dare you criticize him when you go and vote some left-wing electoral candidate after you complaining bitterly about the neo-Marxist agenda coming here which you are correct about, as I watch American cable TV all the time. Monica
People have different on ideas on hate speech. leave it alone and let us express our selves in our own way. Let us speak our own languages when in private and English in society. Josephine
Outrageous speech should be challengable in court as for defamation. Average New Zealanders only speak out in defence of normalilty. We should be free to speak what we feel with no fear of persercution Tony
Free speech is important! Kate
We are already being controlled in so many ways – at least let people say what they want. Jack
As long as they don’t act out what they are saying… Tim
What is really being talked about here is the right NOT TO BE OFFENDED. There can never be such a right as our right to free speech will be totally eliminated with any right not to be offended. The only real answer is to allow debate and show your opposing view and then possibly getting consensus. Any law must always have black and white sides Totally definitive. Hate speech laws will require some form of personal judgement SO WHO IS GOINGTO BE THE JUDGE. I would not trust any politician to make that judgement Robin
they NEVER get it right Chris
To strengthen hate speech laws is to reduce freedom of speech. Jacinda thinks she has a “mandate” because her “pardy” got a majority of the votes. That they “won” only that many votes shows that the “team of 5 million” is a myth and a delusion. Laurence
If you remove freedom of speech, you are not free, enslaving yourself to the governing bodys ideas of what it acceptable and what is not. How can people not see this? Linc
We must preserve the right to offend some people if we are to maintain our century’s old right to Freedom of speech, if we allow the corrosive left wing politics to shut down dissenting commentary to their ideology by calling it Hate Speech then we are doomed to exist in a world predicted by Aldus Huxley and George Orwell. John
just been shut down for speaking the truth because in there eyes it was hate speech Russell
Let us grow up to maturity Maurie
I think we need a few politicians arrested for treason. Rossco
Sick to death of all the socialist propaganda spewed out by the “woke”/radical groups trying to undermine western democracy and European values. Not to mention they are embraced and supported by a rather biased media. How longer will NZers sleepwalk deeper into this shambles? Gary
So where are the political parties who are going to repeal this attack on another NZers rights by Jacinda and her band of Marxists? The people who voted for labor are entirely responsible for this situation. Confiscate guns without reason, shut down free speech, it wont be long until these Marxists come after media they don’t like, just as in all Marxist/fascist dictatorships. Rex
Strengthening laws which oppose free speech are abhorrent.. The current government will continue to impose restrictions in all our activities with the inevitable outcome of total control over everything. du Fresnes article expands the possibilities of where thing are likely to go. I probably wont live to see the outcome, If there was some way to stop the downward spiral I would do it, Voting obviously doesn’t work. Ray S
Go back to how we were. It is too much censoring now, we don’t need any more. Graeme
Another right about to be taken away by the so called leaders of our country. Laws, laws and more laws. The downfall of civilisation here in New Zealand and around the world. Fraser
maybe we should all send this quote to Andrew Little so he knows what he should have done UK Law Commission is leading a review into their hate crime laws. A full public consultation process is now underway %u2013 details can be seen HERE. alan
I am offended that Govt would want to control my speech/thoughts. Chris
It is a fundamental right for me to have an opinion on anything and to be able to express that opinion. That’s what our fathers and grandfathers fought two world wars to accomplish. I will fight for that right against anyone who wants to take it away from me. Kerry
We have enough legislation as it is without removing more of our birthright as NZ’s to express ourselves freely. A third option to vote for the status quo may have been sensible. Gary
I totally agree with everything you’ve said in your article! Brenda
We do not want to give government any more power it is the inch by inch theory Jeffrey
No one likes or respects hate speech, yey everyone has encountered hate speech at one time or another. Some of the words uttered by Parliamentarians including Ardern, Jackson,Davidson, former MP Bradford have been so insensitive to me or of people I respect, as I would consider their words hate speech, yet in Parliament they have a right to express that in the name of free speech. Slander and non truth both have their legal remedies, but we need to preserve the Right of free speech in our open transparent society. Hate speech is most often a product of simple ignorance and so far we have not found a remedy for simple ignorance which is far more widespread and contagious than Covid every was. Part of our society problem is that our education system foolishly instructs to treat so much of what we learn as being equal, that is it diminishes the role of discernment and apportionment so that trivial references are accorded the equal weighting as the law and gospels. We dont need the regulation of law to enshrine this idiocy. Maybe a better approach would be to declare easily offended powderpuffs as incapable of rational discernment ans suspend their right to vote for a decade. Richard
As a white male in the older age designation I am sick and tired of being blamed for every perceived wrong that is being foisted upon us by the individual groups who demand it is their right to do . Rights are earned that takes time . For omnipresence sake do me a favour grow up slowly and think faster listen more you might learn a thing or two . Vivian
I have no desire to live in a communist police state under the thumb of comrades Taxinda and James. Mark
they are only working one way. to silence opposition to reasoned free speech frank
Yesterday Martin
Not to do so will prove they are intent on turning NZ into a Marxist/Socialist society with the State taking control of people%u2019s lives, creating a divided society and making as many people as possible reliant on the State. Po
ABOLISH ALLl RACIST LEGISLATION !!! Roger
Offence isn’t given, it is taken – i.e. it’s all in the hands of the offendee. Cherry
Free Speech is FREE SPEECH Ian
It would be criminal to bring those laws and stop FREE speech Colin
All of what has been written in this weeks article, thank you contributors, is all being DRIVEN from the UN and the under lying prinicples of socialism is already being taught in our schools via UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO etc, very subtle, surreptiously and covertly over a long period of time so as it becoming the “New Normal”. The Western Civilisation is slowly and surely being taken over by socialism driven from the UN which was founded on very deep, strong values of Fabian Socialistic Philosophy with a 50 Year Plan found on their own website which includes 2020 Plandemic. I may as well say what I can now before what I am stating will be Out Lawed…!!! Bruza
Clearly, with the majority the govt enjoys, most will want to strengthen hate speech laws. Surely those that supported Labour would be aware of their “wants” in this area? I say remove them. Grow up people, if you cannot stand criticism, then move on! Neil
There is a very real danger free speech will suffer significantly as a result. Terry
just another ploy of Socialism to destroy Western Civilisation and all the good values it promotes russell
I agree completely with the article by Dr Newman. “Hate speech” laws are extremely subjective and mainly depend upon the “feelings” of the listener. However laws of this type are a standard tool for the neo-Marxist movement to control the population and suppress criticism or scrutiny. Doug
Who is the judge? Jill
if we strengthen them who is going to be the judge of what we think. Is it going to be Stalin or Donald T? To think of strengthening them is nonsense. Denis
The only way to deal with identity politics is to continue to protect freedom of speech and not to succumb to the demands of activists who want to breakdown the mores and values of democratic governance. We must not follow the Australian system Michael
They have no place in any western democracy. John
Scary scary labour and its marxist ideology. Roy
There is NO place in NZ society or HATE speech’s in any shape or FOMR Carl
Just another reason for another Govt dept wasting time and tax money on the undefinable. What rubbish. Who will decide what is free speech and what is hate speech? All jacinda moves have been knee jerk reactions with little thought. The political opposition has been absent when we needed the most. Graeme
It is obvious to me. David
Hate speech laws will leed to civil wae John
“Four legs good; two legs ba-a-a-ad!” WE shall say how der population of New Zealand shall speak. Yeah, right! Rob
Everyone should have the right to express an opinion Alan
NZ would have to be one of the few (if any) countries to elect a Comrade as a PM and a homosexual as a Finance Minister. The greatest sadness from the recent election is that so little faith exists in society that it is incapable of rationalising basic evidence available to it. The Covid 19 pandemic is a political tool and will be used indefinitely to capitalise on the fear voters have of it. Thus it will be used to justify any destructive policy socialism has planned for us to continue down the path to the destruction of democratic economics. Another sadness is that most of the socialists have little capability to understand the impact on jobs and the economy that their policies will on the community. It is Utopia for them but for most it will be poverty and the removal of a voice to challenge the government. There is no doubt that this government will collapse the NZ economy within 3 years. It is on the edge now with a billion dollars per week being printed to replace job losses and the effects of lockdowns and relentless restrictions around Covid 19 suppression of the private sector. The first signs will be a progressive devaluation of the currency – and a ramp-up of the money printing presses! Frederick
Freedom Jason
control of free speech stinks. hitler tried it,china currently does it. That is not for us kiwis! norman
Lets get back to freedom of speech as a core of our society. Merv
How does one differentiate between jocular and offensive casual NZ speech? Offense can be taken by sensitive folks to ordinary statements containing no malice. Anon
Remove them! Once enacted the definition of ‘Hate’ will quickly broaden until even criticism of the government will qualify. We are entering the most difficult of times where Orwell’s 1984 seems to be the perfect society that our Marxist politicians are aiming for. Lee
Offence is in the ear of the listener, not the voice of the speaker. Taking offence is a choice; ignoring is the other choice. Any comments including hate speech, says more about the person making the comment than about the person to whom the comment is made. Alan
“Hate speech” is a term invented by the communist propaganda machine back in the mid 1900’s, specifically designed to destroy freedom and the western way of life. Jacinda needs to learn from history, though a part of me thinks she knows exactly what she is doing. pavel
Strengthening them will incite large scale anarchy and fuel racism Geoff
I am reminded of the old saying “divide and conquer”. Ian
We will need to take to the streets if we want the government to take notice. Alan
Who becomes the judge? Need I say more? Janet
They will do what they like so long as t fits with their agenda for total state control. Wayne
The ‘hate speech’ laws we already have make it an offence to say something that someone claims to be offended by. Note that they can claim to be offended on someone else’s behalf, and they do not actually have to be offended, merely claim that they are. This is absurd and should never have been permitted. Repeal these stupid laws now, and let’s go back to being self-sufficient adults, as we once were. By the way, is it possible to prosecute someone for hate speech against Christian, heterosexual, white married men? No, I thought not! TOBY
Im believe in the freedom of speech. David
we are a democratic country and should always support free speech in all forms. Take note of what is happening in France because these radical groups who were given a new life in France are now turning on the French people because they believe in free speech and freedom of expression . So take note N Z the Muslims are our next threat to Peace. ken
We must oppose the move to strengthen hate speech laws by this or any other government of New Zealand. Gifford
I am told at a school certain books are banned Arthur
Labour under the ‘Comrade’ will do anything but——- The agenda is clear to everybody who cares to look a bit closer at what is going on out there. Attacking free speech is THE hallmark of every totalitarian regime. Apart from that : first lure them in with ‘soft’ socialism , then comes the real thing: communism showing its ugly face . Gulags, torture mass murder, total indoctrination , living with fear and oppression. The world has seen this many times over and now this . Michael
They want to rule our every thought. Andrew
It seems strange that some people can say and do whatever they like but as mere mortals won’t be able to Peter
Too much interference by nanny state in our lives as it is Kevin
A dangerous path against freedoms. John
Free speech is a fundamental right which must be protected if not we may be on the road to totalitarianism . Brian
As I believe Labour is determined to control all aspects of our lives; how we think, how we behave, what we say etc etc. Isn’t this called Socialism or Communism – as a Dictatorship.- like Putin. Stuart
This liberal namby pamby touchy feely nonsense is destroying the essence of NZ…and we wouldn’t even need these laws of mass immigration hadn’t been forced upon us over the last 10 years. Jenna
Free speech is at the very heart of democracy. Brian
Agree totally with this column by Dr Muriel Newman. Judith
Our fore fathers fought and died in two world wars so that future generations all had a free democratic right to live and express their given right or opinions. If any Government takes away this right then we are going back down a slippery slide back to a socialist/communism country. Wayne
Ardern is a Communist. So what can we expect? Jenny
We are very much at a crossroads in this country where the liberal free thinker is being ostracised in preparation for a More radical Marxist dogma to take over our lives, dump down our citizens. Once the old guard has died off the younger population will know no different and the indoctrination will be complete. Rod
Give in to this and there is no hope for the future of this country as we know it. Happy to be at the latter end of my life as the future of this country continues to be fragmented moving away from a united country where all are treated equally Tom
Hate speech will not protect the majority, only minority groups who I believe will be free to use hate speech against the majority. Heather
Free Speech – the cornerstone to a free and democratic society. Maddi
unfortunately we are doomed,, i feel it has already gone too far and many of the young adult out there are completely limp wristed when it comes to opinion..the likes of the human rights commission has already been overtaken,,, sad days for our once free nation. Denise
Our fathers and forefathers for democracy – that includes freedom of speech Gail
No room in this country for this type of draconian law Lawrie
Very difficult to define John
Free speech in NZ must be preserved otherwise we become a Dictatorship Wendy
Speaking on any subject to someone with firm ideas contrary to one’s own has seldom altered the views expressed either way. We have a relatively free society in NZ. Let’s keep it that way and reject the discredited idealogues of the left. charles
Anything to reverse the rampant spread of communism in this country. Bruce
There is adequate legislation already in place Sharen
The law as it stands is quite adequate John
The only way to correct hate speech is to open it up to debate. The question is ‘Wat is hate-speech? Is it exposing openly racist, sexist (insert appropriate word here) views inciting society to act in one way or another? Or is it someone saying something that hurts my personal feelings and I call in the police. Little’s law leads us to a slippery slope in what I am reminded that we see in theocratic Moslem states where the Blasphemy Laws allow people to call out their enemies and subject then to jail and even execution. Little’s law will kill freedom of speech and expression and New Zealand will be the poorer for it. Brenton
We want a Democracy, where all people are treated equally under the law, and we can voice our opinions freely. We can see and feel the degradation of our free society, the slide under Comrade Ardern into socialism and racism. It is NOT good. If we get stricter speech restrictions I would not be able to say that, even though it is all true. Think about it. Joyce
a nurse recently castigated for saying that in her experience Maori nurses were lazy and spent too much time in needless meetings. having put this on her Facebook page. Instead of investigating the claims the nurses council removed her license to practice as a nurse thereby causing her dismissal. It also required her to attend a cultural awareness course. This is Orwellian in the extreme. 1984 is here but we need to remove it. Peter
Freedom of speech is a fundamental Rite of all New Zealanders which must be allowed at all levels. Ian
Freedom of speech is under threat Linda
I would like to say very sincerely and honestly that that comments on social media and other public platforms, and particularly comments made by the Greens co leader Jame shaw about Wealth Tax, CGT, and now we have Social insurance in the wings, have made my wife and I feel threatened, unwelcome and alienated. Tony
Other laws already exist to limit speech that incites violence, disorder or other harm. The hate speech laws will be discriminatory; for example, it will remain acceptable to denigrate men and white people but not other groups. Johan
The One-World Government system is on the way, terrible as that concept is. This Labour Governance is acting as an unsuspecting puppet–or possibly knowing the incremental direction, in assisting the removal of many freedoms, rights, and principles within free democracies. This will be pursued by outright repeal or lawful ‘over-ride’ of freedoms, or by sustained dilution of true Democracy. The cannabis issue may have been won for now, but this distorted faction will maintain political pressure, in the name of freedom, to strive for ultimate legalisation. It is more vital than ever, to remember that: The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil, is that good men do nothing. Alan
Promoting division is not the way forward. It is destructive because it creates groups with selfish agendas. Gagging those who would speak up is convenient for those who would promote neo-marxist separatism. Mark
If Miss Ardern and her Party are indeed going to represent all New Zealanders (I really don’t know who are Aotearoan New Zealanders are) then she should not be afraid of letting all citizens have the right to express their views no matter what shade of opinion they may propound. Any legislation that tries to define and prohibit hate-speech should be removed from the statutes. I am however doubtful that such freedom will be permitted, as with most other utterance made by her and her closest sycophants, tend to be high-priced PR developed slogans and a belief that because they are socialists/marxists, they are the only party that can have empathy and the only party equipped to “protect” the “vulnerable minorities”. With such a mindset her true motives will ultimately surface and accelerate their drive for centralised management and control. Perhaps by then they will have scavenged all than can from the taxpayers pockets, and the treasury presses will be trying to keep up with demand for currency as we take our wheelbarrow load of notes to buy that loaf of bread. The Nation needs complete freedom to speak out if this state of affairs is to be avoided. Michael
jacinda said she,d govern for ALL NZealanders so WHY change the speech law it does,nt need it,we are supposed to be a DEMOCRATIC country. Cindy
Anti-discrimination laws aimed at racism, gender and disability may be justified as those factors are not chosen as by and large are inalterable. Religion and other factors like that such as politics are matters of choice and should b open to robust debate, criticism and ridicule ( justified or not) without the threat of legal sanction. Alan
its bad enough that I cant buy a golliwog doll or call my dog blackly or watch the black and white minstrels if they ever get back on tv because of certain polis and nutters who should be tried for treason because of what they have and doing to this country, so yes lets get rid of so called hate speech laws and any more this corrupt govt plans to bring in by the back door. Richard
Maybe don’t need to go so far as remove, but certainly don’t strengthen! Hugh
In an ideal world everybody would get along with each other. However this is not an ideal world and some people are going to say things that will upset others. I think it is time to step back and remember the old adage: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Dennis
The suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries is I believe, an example of the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions and subject only to reasonable limitation. We must protect and defend our right to a a free society, free speech and peaceful protests. We have found ourselves in the unenviable position of defending our global democracy for future generations. Kathy
Remove hate speech laws. Buy a copy of FREE SPEECH UNDER ATTACK by five local authors, published 2019, ISBN 9781872970 65 6. When freedom of speech is no longer – we are finished ! Don
We’re heading to a one party dictatorship with this lot in power. Malcolm
It is dumb to hate speech. That’s why Andrew Little is how he is. Philip
Remove them Certainly Mike
Of course they should Graeme
Time too step up and be counted frank
The tail is wagging the NZ dog hard now! Anyone who speaks out about that and the NZ media force feeding us Te Reo will be really feel the effect of the “hate” speech laws even if it is just that persons opinion. You certainly must not “think aloud” under Labour. Bruce
This proposed legislation is another step towards the totalitarian control of ‘thought’ bob
I don%u2019t need Cindy to tell me what I find offensive and what I don%u2019t. LUKE
we have enough oppression as it is without the right to voice our opposition to anything. mike
Our dictator needs to pull head in before she completely rutbs the country Bud
Everyone has an opinion and as long as it is true,it should be allowed. Peter
Andrew Little’s avowed intentions are extremely dangerous to our free society and social mores Gordon
What will comrade cindy dump upon us now. We know she’s a socialist,so are we going to see leftwing polices foisted onto us? Get rid of these stupid laws and use commonsense. Stop pandering to racial demands and treat all kiwis as equal,not on colour of skin. Peter
Our protections as they are, are perfectly adequate Annette
What I consider to be hate speech may not necessarily mirror the Government or any other persons view. Free speech will be gone and almost anything could be interpreted at “hate speech”. Colin
…but we know they won’t,, don’t we? The trend is in the direction of 1984, which has become a leader’s manual. Bill
The idea of strengthening laws sends a shiver down my spine. Bev
Freedom of speech means just that. “freedom of speech”. Restrictions remove all avenues of gaining a consensus of opinion. We would end up with a system similar to Russia under the communist party or prewar Germany under the Nazi Party. Gary
Freedom of Speech is the core of Western civilisation which must be retained and maintained for eternity…. Chris
There are sufficient laws already in place to deter/punish extreme forms of threatening behaviour. To try to eliminate hate speech completely is an impossibility and an attack on free speech. There will always be someone with an extreme point of view. It would be like trying to stop an accidents occurring. chris
No to hate speech laws. Society is already protected by laws; adding a poison chalice to the mix divides the people of New Zealand further. There is No Right, not to be offended. But the public have a right to an open reasonable discussion on law changes and our values. Sam
free speech and the offended needs to use to being offended Graeme
Free Speech, IS free speech…..if it is constrained by Government, beyond the rational censure for “yelling fire in a cinema”, or calling for death or injury to so and so…. It is no longer FREE SPEECH. Lionel
I find it incredible that during my lifetime, freedom of speech has been so easily trampled in NZ. Soon Cindy will make it a criminal offense to criticize Islam, Maori and whatever other victimhood groups she deems worthy. No doubt it will soon become an offence to criticize her and her Marxist minions also. I hope all New Zealanders reject this travesty or we are indeed on the slippery slope to totalitarianism. If the media would only do their job and report honestly that our freedoms are being eroded, we might stand a chance to wind this so called ‘hate speech’ back. Fat chance. John
No longer agree to disagree we have to watch ourselves not to offend anyone as this could cost you dearly. Ido
I can only say to voters you were warned not to vote for the Comrade Ardern Govt. Anyone with half a brain or who had spent 5 minutes reading Arderns history should have had warning bells ringing. We get what half of us voted for. Abolish the race relations, human rights office and leave us NZers alone. carolyn
the end of free speech is the beginning of the end Dave
This attack on free speech is totally abhorrent in a modern Western democracy. Without it, we cannot claim to have a democracy at all, but a Marxist autocracy. Julia
Very unlikely they would remove them . . . John
makes things less complicated gerard
lack of free speech is hateful , racism is ugly people need to express if the people are suitably molified then the angry underbelly darkens lashing out with underhanded hate crimes .. OMG CAn i say that ? al
The attack on registered property rights must also be challenged. The Rule of Law has gone. The PM now rules the Police. What has happened to their sworn oath of office? Kevin
In the end what is hate speech it varies amongst people Warren
Free speech is vital! Chris
Put a Hand-Brake on this Woke socialist agenda because it’s only the first step along the road to total control of the People, Geoff
It would be the start of a very dangerous road loose freedom of speech. Carl
Thin edge of the wedge where will it end. Many Maori actists comments are not only racist but offensive I can’t see them being restricted by any law. Richard
Any strengthening would outlaw any comment that does NOT go so far as to %u2018excite hostility%u2019 or %u2018bring into contempt%u2019. Presumably, it would criminalise any criticism of any member of any demographic that predominantly votes for left-wing political parties. Barry
Who decides what is hate speech is the crucial question and like most socialists this government is certain it knows the answer and what is best for everyone. The opposition must commit to repealling any hate speech legislation. Roger
Ardern is a fervent communist, aided and abetted by the former labor party members namely Clarke and co., she will do as she is told by clarke and the UN, unless we stand up and march against her. Unfortunately she is an arrogant, narcissistic millennial who thinks that we should fall down and worship at her feet. Thanks a bunch Winstone. Merryl
Free speech is a basic human right denied too many. NZ must retain this right Ray
Free speech is just that. If it happens to be so called “hate speech” then so be it. We are either a democratic society or we aren’t. There is no in between medium. Alan
They are taking away any happiness we have in our world already – time to stop them. (Whilst I can still say that) Cjros
Any restrictions on an absolute law such as free speech law are not able to be instituted in any democratic country and it still call itself free. We are either free to speak, to discuss, to hear what others think freely or that right is restricted in some way. The freedom has to be absolute or it is not free. I cannot be actually free yet not free to say some things you say are not allowed to be expressed because you do not agree with them. Ray
sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me is what my parents taught me melahi
Debate is good. Mark
What else? Geoffrey
Hitler controlled nearly every aspect of German life in the Thirties , Do we want that?? A Big No!!!! Les
Labour will move to use the law to suppress free speech under the guise of stopping hate speech. It’s all a Conn. A play on words to CONTROL the people. Bruce C
Does Ms Ardern plan to return to Comrade Ardern? Peter
i am constantly removed from facebook for posting government legislation and the reason given is i upset people Colin
Don’t go soft now … Kevin
The debate in Scotland has been explosive this year over their Hate Speech Bill. I have read a legal case is already being worked on to censor or ban the Bible in Scotland. I believe the real agenda in New Zealand could be to destroy Christian conservatism but time will tell. Phil
This more Neo-Marxist denial of the most basic of human rights – that of free speech – part of our splendid British heritage that must be retained Hylton
We do not need hate speech laws in New Zealand. Hate speech can be likened to forceably restricting a person’s supply of oxygen intake. And we all know what that outcome would lead to. Robert
Free speech is our right as human beings in a western civilisation. There is too much PC in our society this is what produces hate speech. muriel
People should be able to Say whatever they like. However there are laws which prohibit inciting violence and threatening life or Taking over a government. They should remain. Greg
Speech is only another word for talk. The growing intolerance and taking of offense by many in response to a comments has created an ideology that anything said that one does not agree with is hateful. Maurice
Freedom of speech is one of our basic rights sheryl
Who decides what is hate speech ?? Communist Andrew Little???? Our freedoms are slowly but surely being eroded . Greg
Hate is expressing abhorrence for abnormal behaviour. chris
There is no place in NZ for laws restricting our right to speak freely. Hate speech laws should be removed. David
Hate speech laws are a cover for a totalitarian government. After Labour banned firearms without warning, I do not trust them to do the right thing over hate speech laws. They want to crush free speech in NZ. We must stand against their bullying.  Roger
Salmond Rushdie is 100% correct – there is no right not to be offended. People need to toughen and stop looking at social media if the comments offend them.  Mary
We do not need restrictions on free speech. Get rid of the laws that are already there. Jason
Hate speech laws are an excuse to ban comments that oppose the government’s views. New laws to strengthen hate speech should be rejected by everyone.  Hugh