'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. 

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Showing 1385 reactions

  • 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
  • Steve W
    signed 2024-05-13 22:24:38 +1200
  • Jaan Lovi
    signed 2024-05-13 22:23:01 +1200
  • Julie Mcgaw
    signed 2024-05-13 22:02:46 +1200
    Without the freedom to use words all that’s left is violence

    As a person from a violent past and up bringing this terrifies me.

    We need to use all our words at times to find resolutions and work through difficult situations.

    That’s life. People that take issue with words need to sort out their own issues, words are not the worst thing that can happen to you. Grow up
  • Deb Aston
    signed 2024-05-13 20:19:55 +1200
  • Lin Turner
    signed 2024-05-09 11:17:14 +1200
  • guy pettingell
    signed 2024-05-06 14:17:55 +1200
  • Sarfraz Ahmed
    signed 2024-05-05 19:00:49 +1200
  • Mark Leslie
    signed 2024-05-05 18:44:55 +1200
  • Yvette Archer
    signed 2024-05-05 08:49:24 +1200
  • William Norman Gavin Fitzgerald
    signed 2024-05-04 15:05:15 +1200
  • Mike Duplooy
    signed 2024-05-02 10:40:16 +1200
    Anyone stupid enough to want hate speech laws deserves to lose ALL their rights and freedom
  • Mary Sullivan
    signed 2024-05-01 22:56:45 +1200
  • Simon Rawalai
    signed 2024-04-30 23:50:04 +1200
    Let the people decide what is hateful speech or action since justice is neutral and has no emotions on the matter
  • Liam Flaherty
    signed 2024-04-30 19:18:31 +1200
    Who decides what hate speech? Just don’t do it
  • Lynne Leung Wai
    signed 2024-04-29 04:58:15 +1200
    Please do not use the “politically correct” as a way to censor discussion of opinions and beliefs in New Zealand. Keep New Zealand free and of a high standard in the world.
  • Jake Beckett
    signed 2024-04-28 13:34:56 +1200
    As an additional consequence of the passing of a similar bill in Scotland the legal system is overwhelmed.

    I can imagine if this hate crime legislation were to be passed it would do the same here.
  • Martin Blyth
    signed 2024-04-26 13:21:18 +1200
  • Adrian de Waal
    signed 2024-04-26 10:11:02 +1200
  • Gaelene Cole
    signed 2024-04-25 20:34:12 +1200
  • Adrian Duberly
    signed 2024-04-25 11:02:24 +1200
    Freedom of speech should be a basic right afforded to everyone. Having different opinions does not equate to hate and should not be subject to laws dictating what one can and cannot say. Determining that something that is said is driven by hatred is very subjective, how do you determine if the person spoke out of a genuine hatred or merely has a fundamentally different view point which you find distasteful?
  • Jarrod Finlay
    signed 2024-04-25 11:01:00 +1200
    The total collapse of any structure begins with a single crack.

    Hate Speech Laws with all the censorship, ambiguity and disunity it brings is that crack that will reduce our modern society to the ruins of some dystopian nightmare.
  • Karen Kloe
    signed 2024-04-23 20:14:07 +1200
  • Fern Hickson
    signed 2024-04-23 19:32:24 +1200
  • Colleen Grindlay
    signed 2024-04-23 04:57:02 +1200
  • Kate Henry
    signed 2024-04-22 22:01:39 +1200
    “Hate crime” legislation would be a guarantee of censorship and tyranny.

    We demand no such laws are instituted in New Zealand.
  • Andrea Plumpton
    signed 2024-04-22 21:24:39 +1200

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