ZB

Hate speech law work in progress, Faafoi says

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 May 2022, 2:29pm
Kris Faafoi (Photo / Getty Images)
Kris Faafoi (Photo / Getty Images)

Hate speech law work in progress, Faafoi says

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 May 2022, 2:29pm

Developments on new hate speech laws are likely in the next few months, Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi says. 

But he conceded the issue was "fraught" and was unwilling to disclose a detail or timeline about proposed laws. 

"In the next couple of months I think we'll have some more news," Faafoi told TVNZ's Q+A today. 

"We're committed to making sure that we meet the recommendations of the Royal Commission," he told Jack Tame. 

The Act Party today said Faafoi had admitted how naive his Government was about proposed hate speech laws. 

"The hate speech laws would create a divided and hateful society where cancel culture would spiral out of control," Act leader David Seymour said. 

"Faafoi claims that Cabinet will consider hate speech in the next few months but he wouldn't commit to a law being passed before the election," he added. 

"It's time to let this misguided policy go. It's okay to admit when you're wrong and move on." 

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon in March this year said the Government was dragging its heels over proposed hate speech laws. 

Last year the Government unveiled proposals and invited public feedback, including on a new criminal offence with harsher penalties and protections for more minority groups. 

The Royal Commission into the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks found New Zealand's legal system did not adequately deal with hate crime and hate speech. 

"The current laws do not appropriately recognise the culpability of hate-motivated offending, nor do they provide a workable mechanism to deal with hate speech," it said. 

The Royal Commission said the section of the Human Rights Act criminalising certain types of hate speech was unfit for purpose. 

"The section as written unacceptably impinges on the right of freedom of expression." 

And the inquiry added: "More generally, it does not provide a credible foundation for prosecution." 

It recommended a reframed offence more accurately targeting behaviour warranting criminal prosecution, and encompassing hate speech directed at religious affiliation. 

The 2019 mosque shootings have sparked renewed debate in the United States today after at least 10 people were killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. 

The shooting in a mostly black neighbourhood is believed to have been live-streamed, accompanied with a manifesto, and motivated by anti-black racial hatred. 

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe told CNN the Christchurch terrorist might have inspired the 18-year-old supermarket shooter.