November 29, 2022
Hate speech law too narrow says Kerekere
Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere is concerned takatapui, women, and disabled people aren’t included in a new hate speech law.
After years of policy debate and 19,000 submissions, Justice Minister Kiritapu Allen has introduced an amendment to the Human Rights Act 1993 to protect religious belief.
The act currently makes it illegal to publish or distribute threatening, abusive, or insulting words likely to ‘excite hostility against’ or ‘bring into contempt’ any group on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins.
Dr Kerekere says it was a lost opportunity.
“We’re really concerned that the minister has decided to only include religious freedoms. We’re concerned that the minister had the opportunity to include protection for women, for our takatapui and rainbow communities and for our disabled people, and they chose not to,” she says.
Minister Allen has also asked the Law Commission to undertake a first principles review of legal responses to hate-motivated offending and of speech that expresses hostility towards, or contempt for, people who share a common characteristic.
This will include whether further protections should be afforded to specific groups, including the Rainbow and disabled communities.