Ardern says ‘we know’ the hate speech that leads to violence

Kiwi covered: Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

“When you see it, you know it” Jacinda Ardern said in response to the question “how do you define hate speech that leads to violence?”.

She says the Human Rights Act has a gap and fails to protect us from “religious hate speech”. As a Christian of many years, I’ve never needed a law to protect me from religious hate speech and I don’t need one now.

Our Bill of Rights Act gives freedom to practice and debate the merits and shortcomings of religion. For this government to introduce a law that criminalizes debate that our existing laws protects is mission impossible.

But now I am wondering how Christians preaching on Queen Street will fare. These days if you disagree with them you can stop and debate, but this new law may shut them down. If an “offended” Muslim takes exception, they might call the police to remove the preacher, which happened recently in the UK, when the preacher was rudely hustled away.

[ Editor note: a similar incident happened on ANZAC day here in New Zealand. Read all about it in our 9.30am article this morning]

It is outrageous that this demand came from Muslim leadership who know perfectly well that a law change will not prevent another Christchurch massacre. But that doesn’t matter, because their goal is is to stop criticism of Islam. This is about bringing in a blasphemy law through the back door.

This is galling, given Islam’s long history of subjugation, abuse and violence.

Ardern said on the AM show that the new law would be based on a template from the Human Rights Act 1993, she referred to Maori and said it required minimal change to adapt to religious hate speech. This points to Section 61, Racial Disharmony, a subsection under “Other forms of Discrimination.” Quote.

Racial disharmony

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person—

(a) to publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting, or to broadcast by means of radio or television or other electronic communication words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting; or

(b) to use in any public place as defined in section 2(1) of the Summary Offences Act 1981, or within the hearing of persons in any such public place, or at any meeting to which the public are invited or have access, words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting; or

(c) to use in any place words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting if the person using the words knew or ought to have known that the words were reasonably likely to be published in a newspaper, magazine, or periodical or broadcast by means of radio or television,— being matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons in or who may be coming to New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.

(2)  It shall not be a breach of subsection (1) to publish in a newspaper, magazine, or periodical or broadcast by means of radio or television or other electronic communication a report relating to the publication or distribution of matter by any person or the broadcast or use of words by any person, if the report of the matter or words accurately conveys the intention of the person who published or distributed the matter or broadcast or used the words.

(3)  For the purposes of this section,—

newspaper means a paper containing public news or observations on public news, or consisting wholly or mainly of advertisements, being a newspaper that is published periodically at intervals not exceeding 3 months

publishes or distributes means publishes or distributes to the public at large or to any member or members of the public

written matter includes any writing, sign, visible representation, or sound recording.” End of quote.

S61 Human Rights Act 1993

Muslims will love this new law and they are already compiling registers of incidents of “threatening, abusive and insulting” speech.

David Seymour says removing freedom of speech affects social progress, noting that we wouldn’t have feminism if we didn’t have free speech.  He rightly points out the error of basing legislation on opinion rather than fact and says the words “threatening, abusive and insulting” should not be in any of our laws.

Thankfully, following his leader’s ill conceived comments, someone has applied the hand brake to Andrew Little who came out with this statement. Quote.

…I have asked the Ministry of Justice to work with the Human Rights Commission to examine whether our laws properly balance the issues of freedom of speech and hate speech. The process should not be rushed, and I expect a report for public comment towards the end of the year.End of quote.

A Newspaper

A fact based way to identify hate speech that leads to violence – as opposed to hate speech that annoys or offends – is available on Whaleoil in my earlier post this morning. Perhaps the Human Rights Commissioner and the Ministry of Justice should take a peek?