News from Britain about the policing of hate crime laws should be must holiday reading for Justice Minister Andrew Little, who for several months has been considering making hate crime an offence in this country.
Stuff in March revealed a series of racially-motivated incidents in Christchurch after 50 people were killed in mosque shootings.
The incidents included a Muslim woman being denied entry to a bus and a swastika spray-painted on a fence in the spot where the alleged gunman was arrested.
We would have thought New Zealand had laws enough to deal with the miscreants in those cases but Little saw the opportunity for political grandstanding and declared he was fast-tracking a widespread review of this country’s existing hate speech legislation.
The review would include deciding if hate crime should be established as its own separate offence, as it is in the United Kingdom.
But one British initiative – the establishment in London of a police unit for tackling online hate crime – has brought charges against less than one per cent of internet trolls it has probed.