Hate Speech laws need to be ruled out

Mon, 13 Jun, 2022

“The Prime Minister has today confirmed the Government’s divisive and dangerous hate speech laws are still on their agenda,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Hate speech laws are divisive and dangerous, turning debate into a popularity contest where the majority can silence unpopular views using the power of the state.

“ACT’s petition to stop Labour’s hate speech laws has received more than 33,000 signatures.

“Jacinda Ardern previously described the kind of language Labour would make unlawful: ‘…when you see it, you know it’. This is the danger of hate speech legislation: it’s deeply subjective.

“Kiri Allan has an opportunity as the new Justice Minister to scrap this dangerous policy, that way she can start her tenure off knowing she has stood up for New Zealanders’ basic rights.

“Threatening others or inciting violence should be illegal, but tests as subjective as ‘offensive’ or ‘insulting’ should never be used to prosecute offences.

“Freedom of expression is one of the most important values our society has. We can only solve our most pressing problems in an open society in which free thought and open enquiry are encouraged.

“ACT will continue to defend the critical principle that nobody should ever be punished on the basis of opinion.”