ZB

Kate Hawkesby: The PM has got it wrong on hate speech

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Jun 2021, 8:44am
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: The PM has got it wrong on hate speech

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Jun 2021, 8:44am

You know that when even the Prime Minister's biggest cheerleader Tova O'Brien turns on her, that the wheels may be falling off this government.

Is the honeymoon over?

The PM is being accused of misleading New Zealanders over the new hate speech legislation being proposed by making inaccurate statements about it. The argy bargy is over how low the bar will be in terms of what qualifies as hate speech.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi acknowledged the new laws would make the bar as low as insulting someone, but the PM disagreed.

She argued it had to be an insult that would incite violence.

The media, and plenty of them surprisingly pointed out she was wrong, led to the question of whether she knew her own hate speech laws or not. She wasn't only wrong on that aspect of it, she was also wrong about political opinion being included.

The discussion document for the public on these proposed changes includes political opinion, yet the PM said Cabinet had taken political opinion out. They hadn't.

So what's going on here?

National claims the government hasn't done the work on this legislation, and didn't even know what it was they were legislating.

It's certainly not a great look when the PM and her Justice Minister aren't even in agreement on it.

Act's David Seymour was quoted as saying that, "outlawing insulting people based on political opinion belongs in North Korea, not New Zealand."

The Herald's Senior Political Correspondent Audrey Young said that 'in the four days since the government outlined changes to 'hate speech' law, it's become obvious from comments by the Prime Minister that she does not understand them.'  

Young says she is 'factually wrong' and says this 'is not good enough for a law which embodies a potential collision of rights, the right to live and participate freely, and the right of freedom of expression, the detail matters hugely,' Young said.

Seymour nailed it when he said on ZB yesterday that this government "have this notion of what sounds good and what's announceable and marketable. Under the hood, the workings are a mystery to them."

And that's it in a nutshell I think. Just imagine this getting passed without any media having picked up on it or questioning the government on it. What sort of laws would we be getting here? It's just so ropey. "Cancel culture on steroids", is how Seymour described it.

And this is the danger of a sycophantic support base who won't question, and a PM who refuses to answer hard questions because as suspected, she doesn't know the answers to them. As Seymour says, she's out of her depth.

Thankfully this week, that's been exposed, and ironically, by her usual coterie of cheerleaders.