“A new hate crime law would exacerbate divisions and fail to stamp out prejudice in New Zealand”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
Justice Minister Andrew Little is reported to be considering making crimes against specific groups of people a criminal offence.
“The message the Government should be sending is that it is wrong to mistreat any person because all people have equal and inherent dignity.
“Government legislation that effectively creates hierarchies of people is the worst imaginable way to unite a country in mutual respect of all humanity.
“Hate crime laws are an extension of identity politics. They exacerbate divisions, pitting groups against one another by declaring that certain people are more deserving of legal protection than others.
“Hate crime laws do not appear to be effective in practice. The UK has had hate crime laws in place for a number of years, and that country has torn itself apart over Brexit, a decision driven largely by hostility towards migrants.
“The UK has also discovered the impracticality of hate crime laws. The country’s Law Commission was last year asked to consider adding men and women to the list of specified groups who should be protected from hate.
“With the Greater Manchester Police already enforcing laws against hate towards goths, emos and punks, adding men and women to the list of protected groups makes a farce of the hate crime concept.
“Other countries have not been able to successfully legislate against prejudice. The belief that a new law will solve the problem of hostility towards particular groups of New Zealanders is misguided.
“We are bound together by a common humanity. All our lives have inherent value and we each have inalienable rights and freedoms. That’s why an attack on those rights and freedoms is an attack on all of us. But the most dangerous long-term threat is being dehumanised and made mere members of a group in the name of identity politics.”