'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

  • Graham Hammond
    signed 2024-04-22 16:20:29 +1200
  • Belinda Goldfinch
    signed 2024-04-22 11:11:56 +1200
  • Duncan Christie
    signed 2024-04-21 19:10:56 +1200
  • Brent Ruijne
    signed 2024-04-21 18:26:11 +1200
    Please don’t sentence people because their beliefs are deemed unpopular by a few.
  • Deborah Loew-Black
    signed 2024-04-21 16:14:08 +1200
    If we are without hate ,we do not condemn others for expressing opinions that oppose our own!
  • Rachel Bidois
    signed 2024-04-21 10:24:02 +1200
  • john wilson
    signed 2024-04-20 14:51:43 +1200
  • Stephen Dobson
    signed 2024-04-20 11:20:32 +1200
  • Aroha Mahoney
    signed 2024-04-20 10:26:23 +1200
  • Shane Sturgeon
    signed 2024-04-19 10:39:38 +1200
  • Stephen Dowe
    signed 2024-04-19 09:35:21 +1200
  • Rebekah Wong
    signed 2024-04-19 09:08:45 +1200
  • Kathleen Alexander
    signed 2024-04-19 08:01:47 +1200
  • Doug Griffin
    signed 2024-04-19 07:41:58 +1200
  • Michael Nel
    signed 2024-04-19 07:06:58 +1200
  • Amanda Fraider
    signed 2024-04-19 07:00:44 +1200
  • sharon hagan
    signed 2024-04-19 05:17:38 +1200
  • Tony Morgan
    signed 2024-04-19 02:37:00 +1200
  • Brenda Spiller
    signed 2024-04-18 23:42:10 +1200
  • Judy Brooking
    signed 2024-04-18 22:21:25 +1200
  • V Robinson
    signed 2024-04-18 20:44:18 +1200
  • Michael Thoms
    signed 2024-04-18 20:35:20 +1200
  • Julie Halligan
    signed 2024-04-18 20:25:14 +1200
  • Tony Pieromaldi
    signed 2024-04-18 19:23:05 +1200
  • stef mann
    signed 2024-04-18 19:06:25 +1200
  • Nathan Lumb
    signed 2024-04-18 17:49:37 +1200
  • Dona Lindsay
    signed via 2024-04-18 16:22:06 +1200
  • David Buck
    signed 2024-04-18 16:08:57 +1200
    ‘Hate speech’ is nothing but a sad, cheap excuse for censorship and an attack on free speech.
  • David Etherington
    signed 2024-04-18 14:52:50 +1200
  • Chudleigh Haggett
    signed 2024-04-18 14:27:54 +1200
    Who makes the rules? This will be nothing but a licence to silence decent! Very undemocratic.

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