'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

  • Marshall Garrett
    signed 2024-04-15 19:46:10 +1200
    Free speech is vital moment you start to try and control speech other than incitement to to harm directly. You’re on a very slippery slope. I’ve seen that happen overseas with dictator ships.

    Iran, North Korea parts of Africa Soviet Russia, China we don’t want New Zealand on the list
  • Fiona Rountree
    signed 2024-04-15 19:34:16 +1200
  • Deborah Tarrant
    signed 2024-04-15 19:32:32 +1200
  • Mark Paton
    signed 2024-04-15 19:21:17 +1200
  • Dave Chadwick
    signed 2024-04-15 19:14:43 +1200
  • Ronald Dixon
    signed 2024-04-15 19:11:48 +1200
  • Jim Wrathall
    signed 2024-04-15 18:57:34 +1200
    We don’t require any more laws that can be potentially used inappropriately. My trust in the judicial process is severely reduced after some of the decisions made recently.
  • Janet Dixon
    signed 2024-04-15 18:57:30 +1200
  • Christopher Menzies
    signed 2024-04-15 18:52:51 +1200
    Do not legislate to restruct freedom of information particularly for such a subjective issue where definition is crutial. I have no faith in public servants to produce a bill that provides the nevessary safeguards
  • Ben Leitch
    signed 2024-04-15 18:46:27 +1200
  • Helena Nickerson
    signed 2024-04-15 18:16:20 +1200
    “Hate speech” is a catch phrase for “shut your mouth”. Much the same as, “Trust the Science” is a catch phrase for “Don’t question”. We will NOT tolerate this sort of censorship.
  • Ruth Newbury-Swash
    signed 2024-04-15 18:14:45 +1200
  • Carolyn Kemp
    signed 2024-04-15 18:13:17 +1200
  • Gautam Sarup
    signed 2024-04-15 18:10:04 +1200
  • heidi wekenborg
    signed 2024-04-15 18:02:10 +1200
  • Petar Jevremovic
    signed 2024-04-15 17:59:34 +1200
  • Rachel Ching
    signed 2024-04-15 17:53:33 +1200
  • Martyn Bradbury
    signed 2024-04-15 17:33:21 +1200
  • Peter Matheson
    signed 2024-04-15 17:31:51 +1200
  • Addy Morrison
    signed 2024-04-15 17:24:04 +1200
  • Valda Edyvane
    signed 2024-04-15 17:04:30 +1200
  • Mark Palmer
    signed 2024-04-15 16:58:13 +1200
  • Lynden Wallis
    signed 2024-04-15 16:48:02 +1200
  • Lynley Harris
    signed via 2024-04-15 16:47:43 +1200
  • Heather Pringle
    signed 2024-04-15 16:46:37 +1200
    Laws will not change how people think, it is better if we are,able to discuss issues rather than they go underground and cause real violence
  • Michael Crisp
    signed 2024-04-15 16:44:40 +1200
    Agree absolutely
  • John Harris
    signed 2024-04-15 16:39:57 +1200
  • Corinna Cornelius
    signed 2024-04-15 16:35:03 +1200
  • Erik Molving
    signed 2024-04-15 16:26:32 +1200
    We do not want anything like the fiasco in Scotland. SO NO NEVER!
  • Jullie Allison-Hohaia
    signed 2024-04-15 16:16:19 +1200

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