“It’s not just the Justice Minister who doesn’t understand his own Hate Speech Laws, the Prime Minister has proved she’s also out of her depth,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This morning when asked about the new laws on the AM Show, Jacinda Ardern made not just one, but four statements that are just wrong.

“She first said that this law is about inciting violence, we already have laws that cover that. The consultation document is called “incitement of hatred and discrimination.” Why isn’t it called “incitement of violence” if that’s all it’s about?

“Then she said political opinion will not be a “protected group.” Also wrong. The discussion document and cabinet paper say they’ll expand to all the categories in Section 21 of the Human Rights Act. That includes political opinion (s21(j)).

“She also said she’s doing this because of the Royal Commission into Christchurch, despite us being specifically told these laws would not have prevented those attacks. The Government decided to change our hate speech laws immediately after 15 March 2019. The Royal Commission didn’t report back until November 2020.

“And then she said this is just a discussion document. Wrong again. The Government has been crystal clear since 2019: it is going to change the law no matter what New Zealanders say. It’s already made up its mind and is not acting in good faith.

“Every statement she made was wrong.

“If New Zealanders overwhelming reject her Government’s hate speech laws, is she saying that she will shelve them?

“This interview, following the train wreck interview from Kris Faafoi on Saturday shows that the Government doesn’t understand the laws it’s trying to introduce.

“This law has failed at the first test for a law, clarity. From here the Minister and the Prime 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.