Saturday, 26 June 2021

If the Minister doesn’t know what Hate Speech Laws Mean, how will Police?


“The Justice Minister has today shown how out of his depth he is on Newshub Nation as he was unable to provide any clarity around his proposed hate speech laws,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“When interpreting the law, courts often look to speeches from the Minister responsible to see what Parliament really intended a law to mean, they won’t get any help from Kris Faafoi, who couldn’t answer what speech was likely to face prosecution.

“Millennials criticising Boomers for the housing crisis? Feminists calling out transgender athletes? Faafoi simply shrugged his shoulders.

“That’s because he can’t say.

“Hate speech is subjective and politicised. Faafoi knows Police will end up facing pressure to prosecute people with unpopular views.

“When they face that pressure, the first thing they’ll think is ‘well, even the guy behind this law didn’t know.’

“The last thing our hard working and already overstretched police want is to be pulled into enforcing an unclear and ambiguous political project by the Labour Party.

“Faafoi showed today he simply doesn’t know how the laws will work or what will be included.

“He admitted that people with unpopular views could face longer behind bars than someone who assaults a child.

“Jacinda Ardern previously described the kind of language Labour would make unlawful: ‘…when you see it, you know it’.

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

"This law has failed at the first test for a law, clarity. From here the Minister will only cause more confusion, and damage New Zealanders' basic rights. He should cancel his ham fisted attempt to put cancel culture on steroids.

“ACT will continue to fight this law which will do nothing but divide society even further and ultimately increase hateful attitudes in our society.”

ACT's petition to protect free speech can be found here.