National pours cold water over Human Rights Commission and Police Commissioner Mike Bush’s Hate Speech ideas

Police are considering the advantages of introducing a specific hate speech crime to target anecdotal reports of an increase in attacks.

Just days ago a woman was charged with assault after an attack on a Muslim woman in Huntly, near Hamilton, which was filmed and posted on social media.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush raised the idea in a select committee review of NZ Police on Wednesday.

He said communities and the Human Rights Commission had been driving calls for specific hate crime legislation, according to RNZ.

“We have crime categories at the moment that do apply but we’re just working through the pros and cons of whether or not it would be the right thing to do to recommend a specific crime type,” he said.

Police Minister Paula Bennett questioned whether there was an increase in attacks or whether it was the result of wider coverage, something Mr Bush also raised.

Ms Bennett said holding that sort of “absolutely abhorrent” behaviour to account on social media was “not a bad thing” but changing legislation is not a priority.

“I think that currently we are holding people to account and last week was a classic (example). I’ve seen the video and she was held to account for her actions and that looks like the right thing to me,” she said.

“The sort of hate speech stuff can be used as an aggravating factor in sentencing and I think that’s kind of good, but as far as doing something further than that, that’s not one of our priorities at the moment.”

Justice Minister Amy Adams, who would be responsible for introducing any new law to Parliament, says existing legislation is enough.

Exactly. ? Once we have Hate Speech legislation, we need to define what it is. ?And that’s where the wheels come off. ? Have a look how it worked out for the UK when someone was taken to court for calling a police horse… gay.

It had wide-ranging repercussions with free speech seriously affected due to fears that any kind of criticism, parody and humour would be a crime.

Let’s file that under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.


– NZN via Yahoo! News