'Hate' is subjective: whether speech or crime

Dear Minister Goldsmith, 

'Hate' is an important term referencing a powerful emotion. Where individuals in our society are targets of hate, we must work to counter this hate and promote tolerance and inclusiveness. 

'Hate' is a powerful term, but an unavoidably subjective one; this is true whether it is used against word or action.

It is not the role of our criminal justice system or laws more generally to regulate this emotion. 

We have insisted that 'hate' speech laws would simply introduce a means to censor unpopular opinions. We applaud your decision to stop work on these proposals.  

'Hate' crime laws suffer from the same weaknesses and have no place in a liberal democracy that values freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the rule of law. 

Introducing 'hate' crime laws would see police and the judiciary tasked with deciding if one individual acted more criminally than another despite breaking the very same law, based on their motivations not their actions. 

We have no interest in defending criminal actions. If an individual breaks the law, they must be held accountable. But the law must apply impartially, regardless of who breaks it. There aren't 'right' reasons to break the law, or reasons that are 'more wrong' than others.

Breaking the law for 'hate' shouldn't stand alone as a category any more than breaking the law for 'love'. Who is impartial enough to determine objectively when either of these would apply? 

Keep our laws impartial, the rule of law strong, and our speech and consciences free. 


We call on Hon. Paul Goldsmith, the Minister of Justice, to reject all advice to develop 'hate' crime legislation that would introduce unacceptable subjectivity into our laws, and be used to target unpopular perspectives and unorthodox beliefs. 

2,028 signature
Goal: 5000 signature

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Showing 1381 reactions

  • Margaret Landauer
    signed 2024-05-24 02:27:57 +1200
  • Roberta Pagani
    signed 2024-05-21 11:21:24 +1200
  • Susan Vanini
    signed 2024-05-17 15:52:04 +1200
  • Lindsay Gibb
    signed 2024-05-17 09:26:21 +1200
  • Vin Carey
    signed 2024-05-16 15:17:18 +1200
  • Belinda Goldfinch
    signed 2024-05-16 13:16:07 +1200
    Have some backbone Mr Goldsmith ffs
  • Dion Smith
    signed via 2024-05-16 12:50:23 +1200
  • Derek Hartley
    signed 2024-05-16 12:30:30 +1200
    Stop wasting money on sloppy Law Making. This will rapidly become another means of suppressing dissenting views. At the hands of a vocal & manipulative minority. Or government intent on suppressing awkward questions . Witness the behaviour of the last two governments
  • Nancy Donald
    signed 2024-05-16 11:36:09 +1200
  • M Clapham
    signed 2024-05-16 07:12:54 +1200
  • Linda Baxter
    signed 2024-05-16 03:12:46 +1200
  • Sandra Beltman
    signed 2024-05-16 00:17:50 +1200
    Instead of spending money on ‘protecting’ groups from ‘hate’ speech… perhaps the healthier approach in a strong democratically driven society, would be to improve citizens critical thinking capacities through education, public debate, modeling and role-modelling social outcomes from free expression (and healthy debate) versus telling people what to think and say because of a possible offense taken. We are all capable of ‘taking offense’ (at even the most ‘trivial’ of judgements or statements)..at which level is it ‘correct’ to enforce?… or …we can say – “that’s your opinion, not my own.” Every individual has to learn to make their own informed choices on what to think and believe. AND NOT be drawn into violent action, because of ‘mob rule’. Learn to stand in your truth. Think. Speak.
  • Fiona Judd
    signed 2024-05-15 22:46:10 +1200
  • Bob Treadwell
    signed 2024-05-15 22:15:33 +1200
    Who will be the arbiter of what qualifies as hate speech? The worst possible people will want to do it while anybody who could do it well will be too intelligent to get involved!!
  • S M
    signed 2024-05-15 21:07:18 +1200
  • Markq Turner
    signed 2024-05-15 20:17:38 +1200
    Ecc chpt 3 verse 1-8, kjv, if God had allowed for this among men, who is a man that thinks he can suppress what God has allowed ?
  • Barbara Callender
    signed 2024-05-15 19:17:30 +1200
  • Isaac Lassing
    signed 2024-05-15 18:46:46 +1200
  • Mark Kalksma
    signed 2024-05-15 18:06:26 +1200
  • Andy Elvey
    signed 2024-05-15 17:35:43 +1200
  • Tim Appleton
    signed 2024-05-15 17:29:51 +1200
  • Shirley Wawatai
    signed 2024-05-15 16:15:57 +1200
  • Alexander Gurevitch
    signed 2024-05-15 09:30:31 +1200
  • Graeme Anderson
    signed 2024-05-15 09:01:02 +1200
  • Gaynir Schultz
    signed 2024-05-15 07:23:49 +1200
  • Coral Searle
    signed 2024-05-15 02:18:02 +1200
    Kick the ‘Dame’ out of her cushy, over-paid number sanctioned by Cindyboy Luxon.
  • Lorraine Birchall
    signed 2024-05-14 11:43:36 +1200
  • Lex Campbell
    signed 2024-05-14 09:25:53 +1200
    Free speech is a basic right for all people. Just because some people don’t like what you say doesn’t make this hate speech. Just differences in opinion
  • Anne Aspinall
    signed 2024-05-14 09:09:31 +1200
  • Vikki Wilmore
    signed 2024-05-14 03:46:43 +1200

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