“Labour’s election manifesto resorts to Orwellian doublespeak to sell its new hate speech law,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The manifesto promises to ‘protect and strengthen the rights of New Zealanders’ by prohibiting speech.
“Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights New Zealanders possess. A new hate speech law will do the exact opposite of protecting and strengthening the rights of New Zealanders – it will fundamentally undermine them.
“The promise of tougher hate speech laws shows the danger of a left-wing government to our fundamental rights and freedoms, and highlights the importance of a strong ACT to hold them all accountable.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“Only a Party Vote for ACT will hold them all accountable.”