Religion hate speech crackdown promised

hate speech

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is promising to crack down on hate speech and restrict free speech if she can govern alone after the election.

She promised to include religion under legislation that deals with hate speech and discrimination.

“In a modern New Zealand, everyone would agree no one should be discriminated for their religion.

“It makes sense that we add this to the suite of other things, we say it is just not OK to discriminate people over”, she said.

Adern’s promise came yesterday during a visit to Al Noor mosque to unveil a memorial plaque in memory of the March 15 attacks and was responding to the push for change by the Imam Gamal Fouda.

The policy announcement was not planned, but a response to Fouda’s view that outlawing hate speech would prevent another attack like the one at Al Noor mosque.

“Freedom of speech becomes hate speech. Hate turns into hate crime as we have seen at the 15th of March”, Fouda said, taking the opportunity to push for change.

“I’d like to see a new law in New Zealand and I think New Zealand has seen a lot and we went through a lot. The blood of those people shouldn’t be forgotten,” he said.

A clampdown on hate speech will not go ahead under National and ACT.

“I believe ultimately in freedom of speech with certain limitations that we’ve all accepted,” said National leader Judith Collins.

“The promise of tougher hate speech laws shows the danger of a left-wing government to our fundamental rights and freedoms”, said ACT leader David Seymour.

“Hate speech laws are divisive and dangerous, turning the debate into a popularity contest where the majority can silence unpopular views using the power of the state”, he said.

New Conservative leader Leighton Baker warns that the first freedom society loses is when a society loses its freedom of speech.

“The only real definition of hate speech is inciting someone to commit an act of violence, and we have laws to protect against this now.

“We must be able to discuss ideas in a free and democratic society”, Baker said.

Currently, there is no specific hate speech law in New Zealand.

Hate speech is covered by The Human Rights Act on the grounds of colour, race or ethnicity – not religion.

Ardern confirmed Labour intends not stopping just with religion and promises to include sexual orientation, age or disability.


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