8 February 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hate Speech Laws Withdrawn: Major Victory For Free Speech
The Government has finally done the right thing by scrapping its neo-blasphemy laws, the product of its “hate speech” proposals, after a years-long fight. This is a major victory for free speech, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.
'After Minister of Justice Kiri Allan dropped 5 of the 6 proposals, we didn't believe that even minor changes to the laws were acceptable. Elevating any community above public conversation and dialogue, no matter who, is an unacceptable limitation on Kiwis' speech rights.
‘This Bill was nothing less than a re-introduction of the blasphemy laws the Government repealed (to much self-congratulation) in 2019. Kiwis have the right to voice disagreement with religious views, even to the point of ridicule and contempt.
‘Even though the hate speech laws have been kicked to touch, with the Law Commission doing a 'deep dive', we don’t believe they’ll find anything that the Human Rights Commission, Royal Commission into the March 15th Attack, or the Ministry of Justice couldn’t. But if censorious legislation does rear its ugly head once again, the Free Speech Union will be ready and willing to stand for our fundamental right to free speech.
'The Free Speech Union coordinated the largest public consultation to any Ministry of Justice proposals ever, with almost 20,000 submissions. This victory just adds to the momentum we are building, and the re-emergence of free speech as a cornerstone of Kiwis' democratic liberties.'
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