Hate speech law proposals aim to create a safe and inclusive society – but discrimination is unlikely to be discouraged if it is positive

The government has declared its intention to make hate speech a Crimes Act offence and to increase the penalties for inciting hatred or discrimination.

It has announced a public consultation on proposed changes to the Human Rights Act 1993

“… to strengthen protections against speech that incites hatred and discrimination; and seeking New Zealanders’ views about how they would make New Zealand more socially cohesive”.

Writer George Orwell would have relished the language applied by Beehive spin doctors to describing the objective. The government is launching a “social cohesion programme to address incitement of hatred and discrimination”.

We imagine this is not intended to discourage or eliminate discrimination of the sort that bestows favours or privileges when the government promotes an “us” and “them” society through the increasing development of Crown-Maori partnerships.

Treating Maori and non-Maori separately is reflected in a raft of policies, as evidenced  (for example) in the latest announcement on the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.

Final decisions had yet to be made on how the full Housing Acceleration Fund would be used, Housing Minister Megan Woods said this week, but $350 million has been ring-fenced for a Māori Infrastructure Fund.

So where is a fund that has been ring-fenced for other ethnicities?

The government and its supporters will insist this is “positive” discrimination which makes it an acceptable arrangement – a necessary one, even – under the Treaty of Waitangi, although it seems to be at odds with today’s announcement of a significant programme of work to create a safer, more inclusive society. Continue reading “Hate speech law proposals aim to create a safe and inclusive society – but discrimination is unlikely to be discouraged if it is positive”

Hate speech: creating a climate in which silence is the best form of defence against heavy-handed Thought Police

The Government has announced a raft of initiatives in its response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Masjidain.

We are told it is not considering the introduction of specific hate crime laws.  But a law to deal with “hate speech” – clearly intended to further crimp our freedom of speech to some degree – is another matter. 

While hate speech legislation has been promised, and is expected to be announced after the release of the Royal Commission of Inquiry report later today, specific offences for more serious hate crimes will not be coming.

Reaction to the royal commission’s report wasn’t the only matter dealt with by ministers in the past day or two.

The Beehive website shows: 

  • Contact tracing in New Zealand will get a substantial boost from tomorrow with the addition of Bluetooth tracing to the NZ COVID Tracer app.  
  • The Government is delivering on a key commitment to better protect security guards’ pay and conditions by adding them to Schedule 1A of the Employment Relations Act. 
  • Te Ahu o te Reo Māori will be expanded as a nationwide initiative for up to 10,000 teachers, leaders and support staff who wish to strengthen their use of te reo Māori,

But the most significant  news was the Government’s response to the recommendations to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Masjidain. Continue reading “Hate speech: creating a climate in which silence is the best form of defence against heavy-handed Thought Police”

The smart way to stop subsidising hateful Chinese propaganda would be to stop subsidising international films

While the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Commission are examining  whether New Zealand laws properly balance the issues of freedom of speech and hate speech (whatever that might be), taxpayers are helping to finance  Chinese propaganda.

Hateful propaganda, we suggest.

The Screen Production Grant has handed a $243,000 subsidy to a propaganda film produced by Chinese state-owned enterprises.  

The film’s tagline (reportedly) is ‘Anyone who offends China, no matter how remote, must be exterminated.’

One of Sir Peter Jacksons companies is credited (or discredited) with being a beneficiary of the funding, which has been channelled through the Film Commission.

News of this shameful use of public money did not come to us through the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which is triggered by distributions proudly announced by Ministers of the Crown.

And we confess to missing it when it was reported yesterday in an admirable piece of Stuff reportage.    Continue reading “The smart way to stop subsidising hateful Chinese propaganda would be to stop subsidising international films”

Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code

In case you missed it, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, reckons Act  leader David Seymour is a bully.

The Speaker spoke on TV One’s Breakfast yesterday after publication of the review which found bullying is widespread in Parliament.

Interviewer John Campbell couldn’t resist dragging Seymour into considerations:  he asked if it had been bullying or robustness, when Seymour described Green MP Golriz Ghahraman as “a real menace to freedom in this country.”  

Mallard replied:

“In my opinion it did step over the line.  Its not a breach of privilege because it didn’t happen in the House. It’s not a criminal offence but I think it showed poor judgement….”

Campbell:  “Do you think it was bullying?”

Mallard:  “Ah, yes…” Continue reading “Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code”

How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins

A headline in the left-leaning The StandardIn praise of Judith Collins – caught us by surprise.

The author of The Standard’s post criticised ACT leader David Seymour for “being a dick” about Green MP Golriz Gharaman and for tweeting:

“Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country.” spoke to about the dangers facing free speech in New Zealand and the political theatre of Jacinda Ardern’s Christchurch Call.”

Let’s check out what’s going on here and why – on this matter, at least – Collins is being praised by a left-wing blogger.   Continue reading “How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins”

Now that ‘binding’ has been defined (sort of), let’s anxiously wait for the meaning of ‘hate speech’

The Government seemed to be in a bind about the cannabis referendum to be held at the general election next year.  The dilemma was about whether the referendum should be binding.

Referencing a leaked cabinet paper, National Party drug reform spokeswoman Paula Bennett threw doubt on how binding the referendum would be. 

National declined to release the paper to protect the source (something of an impediment when it comes to establishing the credibility of claims against political opponents) but said only one of four referendum options due to be discussed by Cabinet yesterday might compel the Government to act on the outcome.

The other three possibilities would not be technically “binding” because the government would not be obliged to act on them. Continue reading “Now that ‘binding’ has been defined (sort of), let’s anxiously wait for the meaning of ‘hate speech’”

No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit

The ranks of world leaders who will attend the summit in Paris on Wednesday next week to grapple with hate  speech and social media are looking somewhat thin.

Called by PM Jacinda Ardern and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, the conference is billed as seeing “world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate  terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Both leaders say the two nations will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Problem is, few world leaders seem eager to attend. At a recent count there might be five or six including Jordan and Indonesia. Continue reading “No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit”

Health and safety laws come to the rescue of Aucklanders threatened by words

The cancellation of a public talk by two controversial Canadians accused of hate speech is a triumph for … Well, for what or for whom, exactly?

For the dubious application of the country’s health and safety legislation, perhaps.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, typically described as being “best known for their far-right alternative views on everything from feminism, gender and immigration to Islam”, had been set to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre on 3 August.

Lobbying by left-wing activists and Islamic leaders to bar them from speaking was successful.

While immigration authorities were still assessing whether they should intervene under the Immigration Act and Immigration Instructions … Continue reading “Health and safety laws come to the rescue of Aucklanders threatened by words”