March 31, 2023
Law delay opens door for hate speaker
A freedom of speech expert says the Government’s failure to deliver hate speech legislation has contributed to the furore around the visit of British anti-transgender activist Posie Parker.
University of Auckland law lecturer Fuimaono Dylan Asafo says a proposed law change has been put off because Government is supposedly too busy with economic matters.
The current law covers hate speech on the grounds of colour, race and ethnic or national origins – not on gender, sexual orientation, trans identity or religious belief.
The changes proposed in 2021 also included hate on the grounds of political opinion, which sparked major pushback from Opposition parties.
“Which is extremely disappointing because amongst those proposals included well-evidenced and grounded proposals to include hate speech on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation and religious belief,” Mr Asafo says.
He says liberals who oppose hate speech laws on the grounds of freedom of speech need to look at the evidence of the actual harm done by hate speech.