Let's set the scene here. In March 15 2019, an Australian, Brendon Tarrant, killed 55 people in two mosques. This led to an inquiry, and the inquiry said that stronger laws around hate speech were needed. The government has a minister of justice with a communications degree (not a law one) and he is trying to defend the draft bill which has a long list of protected persons and makes inciting hatred a crime with a 50K fine or 3 years in jail. Heather du Plessis-Allan, on the most listend to radio station in NZ said this:
We’re going to have to start a file called Awkward Friday Politics.
Because we’ve got another one today: an awkward announcement wheeled out on a Friday in the hope it gets lost in the fog of beers, hangovers and weekend sports.
This one is the hate speech law.
And the fact that it's wheeled out on a Friday seems an admission that the government knows it's going to be awkward to sell to punters on a bunch of levels.
The proposed law would take hate speech out of the Human Rights Act and put it in the crimes act to signal how serious the offence is.
It’ll make it a crime to not only incite violence but also incite hatred against a bunch of protected groups.
It will expand these protected groups from currently basically only being ethnicity or nationality… to include sex, gender, martial status, religious belief, employment status or political opinion
And it will boost the penalties from three months in jail to three years in jail.
Three years in jail for a start is disproportionate.
It’s three times longer than you get for common assault, for example for punching someone in the face: that’s a year.
It’s longer than the punishment for assaulting a child, or a man bashing a woman: that’s two years.
So they’re going to have to tell us how nasty words deserve a greater punishment than actual an physical attack.
The second tough sell is the protected groups.
Political opinion? So now if you go around saying you hate Green Party voters or National Party voters and you want to convince other people to hate them all too because they’re entitled or selfish or whatever, you now run the risk of ending up in jail?
I think there’ll be a fair people who baulk at that. That feels a helluva lot like its crossing a line into stifling debate.
In any case, what is it they’re trying to fix?
They say they need to pass this law so another attack like march 15 doesn’t happen again.
March 15 wasn’t the result of nasty words in New Zealand.
That man came here radicalized already.
John Minto is an old school radical socialist who is usually wrong. I disagree with almost every moral and political stand that he has ever taken. But like Bomber, he sees that this will stifle dissent and debate... not merely for the dissident right, but for the progressive left.
There are serious concerns in this proposal about issues of freedom of speech as have been passionately expressed on this blog and these are well-founded. In fact I think it will be the Muslim community and progressive voices who are more likely to feel the harsh edge of this law in a similar way to that experienced by Māori under the Race Relations Act.
Is it too far-fetched to see police under pressure to act (or even private prosecutions being launched) against Palestine solidarity activists on the basis that when we chant “From the river to the sea – Palestine will be free”* because it is claimed to be “threatening, abusive or insulting” to members of the Jewish community – which presumably would be a “protected group” under the proposed new law?
So this law is flawed. I have had the cancel culture try to take me out -- and this place is low traffic -- because they think I'm anti their protected persons. My answer is that we all need to repent and seek Christ: which of course they will say is hatey speech. Heaven knows what these woke would do if they read the gospels.
Regardless, a more astute government would have left this alone. We have rules saying you can't incite harm against a group. We don't need rules around feelings.
Cam Slater, who is not that far right (despite what the mainstream media or Minto says) believes this will backfire. That this is part of the end of the moral authority for the government.
If you poll people, no one ever says they will vote for a party because they are woke, inclusive and diverse. No one, ever. It is a fantasy, a pipe dream, not matched by reality. Yet this is what this government and their media lap-dogs are focused on.
Like the US in 2016 the media are slavishly telling us about a New Zealand that exists only in the fevered minds of media and left-wing luvvies. The rest of us drive utes, hunt for the freezer, work our arses off, pay our taxes and get on with life. We simply don’t care about diversity, we hire the best person for the job. We think that people like Gavin Hubbard are wankers not heroes. We think that people spending a lifetime on welfare are deadset useless bludgers. We pay for the roads this government seems to want to hand over to people who don’t pay to use them. Most of us aren’t at all racist despite the media and people who actually are racist telling us we are. Any political party that recognises those few truisms will reap a vast harvest of votes.
It’s a topsy-turvy, inside-out world currently, and this Government is hell bent on making it more so. There is going to be a backlash, and when it happens this government is going to wonder what it is all about.
When a government starts micro-managing your life, telling you what vehicles you can own and bending to vocal but minuscule groups of rowdies then it is time the government was changed. There won’t be a fuss, it will just happen, and I don’t think it is that far away.
This Government appears prepared to die in a ditch of insignificance. It is in reality their only shovel-ready project. I say let them die in that ditch. It will make burying them that much easier.
I disagree. We should stop this hate speech law, because I think, as Minto fears, it will not unite us but divide us. I do see the economy starting to implode while everyone talks peace and prosperity. This will end badly.
This is a time when we should try to stop our enemies making a mistake, but prepare for it anyway. Get off social media, use a VPN, get a handle, and watch what you say in public.
For this government is running the nation into a ditch for virtue signals.