19 November 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Government Backdown On 'Hate Speech' Laws Major Win For Free Speech
The Free Speech Union welcomes Minister of Justice Kiri Allan’s announcement that each of the 6 proposals released last year to amend hate laws will be dropped, except the inclusion of religious communities. We commend the Minister for listening to the overwhelming public response calling for free speech to be upheld. This is a major victory for all free speech-loving Kiwis, says Jonathan Ayling, spokesperson for the Free Speech Union.
‘Hate speech laws don’t work. For over 18 months, we have led the charge calling on the Government to back down from the idea that hate can be outlawed. Over 80% of the submissions against the ‘hate speech law’ proposals specifically endorsed our submission. Ours is the largest petition against these proposed laws, with over 50,000 signatures.
‘Two Justice Ministers have now failed in pushing their ideological agenda of expanded ‘hate speech’ laws through and have now passed this poisoned chalice to the Law Commission for a ‘deep dive.’ The Ministry of Justice has just spent over two years working on this very issue. It’s time better solutions were given a chance, solutions that elevate dialogue, reason, and counter-speech.
‘If hate speech laws don’t work for other ‘vulnerable communities', we need to rethink the entire venture. The question, ‘if this group, why not that group’ is legitimate.
‘The Government must stand for Kiwis' right to express their opinions in speech and do away with the notion that gagging voices resolves complex issues. Sections 61 and 131 of the Human Rights Act should be repealed entirely and simple incitement to violence outlawed as speech beyond the pale of free expression.
‘This campaign has shown that through debate and an open exchange, free speech enables reason to prevail. If the Government with the strongest election mandate in a generation backs down on this issue, free speech remains a core value for all Kiwis. Today is a win for all Kiwis' freedom of speech.
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