NZ Hate Speech Laws: Legislation is no antidote to hate

The following from Spectator Australia:

Time has been called on overhauling ‘hate speech laws’ in New Zealand. After sitting in Labour’s manifesto for years, and two Ministers of Justice failing to build support for the proposals, maybe they’ve seen the light: legislation is no antidote to hate.

Minister Kiri Allan confirmed Saturday morning on Newshub Nation that the only proposal which will be enacted from last year’s proposal consultation is the inclusion of religion as a protected class. This is a major backdown from the intention to expand penalties significantly for hate speech (from 3 months in prison to 3 years and/or a fine from $7,000 to $50,000), to include a host of new protected groups, and to amend ‘incitement to discrimination’.

For free speech-loving Kiwis, this is a major win. But do even these limited changes make sense?

Both ACT and National (it’s about time Luxon said where he stood) have committed to opposing this legislation. The basic issue still remains: silencing opinion, even condemnable opinions (which do not amount to incitement to violence, which is already illegal), doesn’t deal with a lack of social cohesion.

And if hate speech laws don’t work for other ‘vulnerable communities’, we need to rethink the entire venture. The question, ‘if this group, why not that group’ is legitimate. If hate speech laws do work to protect vulnerable communities, like religious groups, then why won’t the Minister commit to including other vulnerable groups too? It’s because she herself has admitted they could make the situation worse. Why is this glaring truth not then relevant to religious groups?

The fact of the matter is hate speech laws (even if they’re just extending protected classes by one group) make things worse.


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