'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

  • Julie Lamond
    signed 2024-04-15 16:00:32 +1200
  • Ron Shaw
    signed 2024-04-15 15:43:15 +1200
  • Ken Hoolihan
    signed 2024-04-15 15:40:44 +1200
  • Helen Johnstone
    signed 2024-04-15 15:30:25 +1200
  • Leonie Smit
    signed 2024-04-15 15:17:15 +1200
    Keep the rule of law clear and without emotion. Hate refers to emotion and feeling therefore makes for a very subjective interpretation. NZ has got laws that covers crime adequately. More importantly the current laws must be applied consistently and clearly. Judges and police need to understand the current laws and apply them, let alone introducing some flimsy feeling law that will be subject to the interpretation of a feeling. Way to undermine Democracy in plain sight.the
  • Chris Seddon
    signed 2024-04-15 14:50:47 +1200
  • Lee Raela
    signed 2024-04-15 14:46:16 +1200
    I’m a Christian. Some already consider this belief a ‘hate crime’. This is a slippery slope, one to avoid completely.
  • John Hillyer
    signed 2024-04-15 14:44:36 +1200
  • Chris Maher
    signed 2024-04-15 14:35:17 +1200
  • Sheryl White
    signed 2024-04-15 14:29:22 +1200
    New Zealanders don’t want this rubbish about ‘hate’ crimes and speech. We have satisfactory laws already, and as the point has already been made a crime is a crime. If any criminal action breaks the bounds of the existing law in NZ, for any reason, our existing laws and structures should continue to deal with it. NZ needs to stay clear ofthe trendy, so-called ‘progressive’ concepts imported from overseas. They do nothing except create disharmony and conflict in our society where there was none before. The present government was voted in by a population who wants to see an end to all of that.
  • Alan Willis
    signed 2024-04-15 14:16:12 +1200
  • Paterson Bernadette
    signed 2024-04-15 14:08:37 +1200
  • Michele Bishop
    signed 2024-04-15 13:54:28 +1200
  • Robin de Mandeville
    signed 2024-04-15 13:15:18 +1200
  • Nick Witters
    signed 2024-04-15 13:13:00 +1200
  • Aitkenhead Glenda
    signed 2024-04-15 13:07:12 +1200
  • Clint Andrews
    signed 2024-04-15 12:59:26 +1200
  • G B Shaw
    signed 2024-04-15 12:51:43 +1200
    The term hate is far too subjective for anyone to judge. Obviously there are degrees of hate. Our society which has little appreciation of the importance of emotions in our lives, is now giving the public the ability to make an emotional judgement on someone who commits a crime. The action, the crime is primary, the emotion behind the action, will be clouded by the victim or witnesses own perceptions and past experience. And then of course any previous history of the parties involved will have an impact. So if you don’t like someone, accuse them of a hate crime. Sounds like what happened in the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Gerald Hamill
    signed 2024-04-15 12:21:29 +1200
  • Sharon James
    signed 2024-04-15 11:53:16 +1200
  • Wendy Blount
    signed 2024-04-15 11:48:08 +1200
  • Bruce Harper
    signed 2024-04-15 11:44:37 +1200
    The Christchurch Call Commission must be closed down forthwith for the very reasons FSU mentioned in this letter and also there is no sense in spending unnecessary money on this fruitless task and in this process the sacking of Jacinda Ardern who does not deserve to have another cent of taxpayers money spent on this despicable woman…!
  • Wallace Hamilton
    signed 2024-04-15 11:43:03 +1200
  • Susan Lloyd
    signed 2024-04-15 11:38:25 +1200
  • Siobhan Tavioni
    signed 2024-04-15 11:38:03 +1200
  • Christine Hendry
    signed 2024-04-15 11:26:30 +1200
  • Elise Flanagan
    signed 2024-04-15 10:36:32 +1200
  • Neil Hilton
    signed 2024-04-15 10:17:35 +1200
  • Marat Safiullin
    signed 2024-04-15 10:10:33 +1200
  • Donna Helleur
    signed 2024-04-15 09:29:24 +1200

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