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  • '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. 

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    Goal: 5000 signature

    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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  • COVID INQUIRY: HAVE YOUR SAY

    We ran a submission tool enabling our supporters to leave feedback on what should be included in the expanded terms of reference for the Covid-19 Inquiry.

    We called for the stigmatisation and suppression of freedom of speech, particularly in the exercise of “soft power,” to be thoroughly examined.

    Feedback has now closed.

    WHAT IS THE CURRENT SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY?

    The public health response and delivery of health services

    This includes things like border closures and MIQ arrangements; the approval and mandating of vaccines; lockdowns and isolation arrangements; as well as vaccine passes, gathering limits, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

    The provision of goods and services

    This includes things like how people’s everyday needs were met during the pandemic, such as the provision of lifeline utilities and services, e.g., water and electricity; how education and childcare services were delivered; and other essential services that the Government provides, like regular superannuation payments or housing.

    The economic response

    This includes things like how support to individuals and businesses was provided, like the wage subsidy, for example; exemptions that were put in place for specific industries like farming, for example; and the Government’s economic response more generally.

    Government communication, engagement, and decision-making

    This includes things like how people and communities were communicated and engaged with during the pandemic, in order to limit the spread of the virus and ensure people were kept safe, and what sort of decision-making structures and arrangements might be used or put in place during a pandemic that continues for a long time.

    We called for the Royal Commission to examine the following:

    • Whether government policies and actions inhibited free speech in New Zealand, including the exercise of ‘soft power’ as opposed to explicit censorship
    • Whether legal protection was sufficient for people who faced repercussions for their opinions held on the COVID response
    • Whether academic freedom in New Zealand universities was faithfully upheld
    • The effects of the government's COVID response on New Zealand's social cohesion

    We received over 4,000 submissions.

  • We must preserve tolerance and peace in debate over Israel-Gaza conflict

     

    The 7th of November marked one month since an attack on Israel reignited bloody conflict in Gaza. This ongoing and devastating situation has continued to fuel intense emotions overseas and in New Zealand.

    The cause is complex, and so is knowing the appropriate response.
    We do not pretend to have the perfect answer.

    But no matter which side we are on, if we strike at the basic democratic principles in our outrage, we will all be poorer.

    One side can’t have the right to have their say without the other receiving the same. The opportunity to listen and provide counter-speech must exist, otherwise this wouldn’t be a democracy.

    Would you sign this public letter, regardless of which side you come from on this issue, working with us to preserve open debate and civil discourse?

     

     

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    Goal: 5000 signature

    Together, we sign this letter whilst disagreeing on many things.

    We disagree about a way forward in the Middle East, and we disagree about much to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    We all agree, however, on the basic principles of democracy and are united against violence.

    We are appalled that a Member of Parliament required Police protection to leave a protest in Auckland Domain because he expressed an unpopular opinion. We condemn intimidation, violence, and intolerance. 

    We are saddened by the unprecedented levels of both antisemitic and Islamophobic actions occurring around New Zealand associated with events overseas. Our common desire is that New Zealand would be a peaceful and free nation, where all people can speak freely and share their story.

    We encourage all New Zealanders to use their voices to call out intolerance and hate, and to speak up for peace.

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