The Prime Minister did not rule out today that potential hate speech crimes will have a more severe maximum prison sentence than the crime of ‘assault on a child’, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
“This is consistent with her Government’s ongoing trend of poor prioritisation and complete lack of understanding of what New Zealanders are concerned about. They are clinging to ill-thought out and illiberal hate speech proposals which the majority of New Zealanders oppose entirely.
“The Prime Minister’s muddled answers to my questions in Parliament provided no further clarity on the definition of hate speech nor the thresholds for criminalisation.
“Jacinda Ardern cannot continue to preach from a pulpit when she cannot even answer basic questions about serious legislation with far-reaching consequences that she is proposing.
“She cannot simply decide she is entitled to determine what cars we should drive and what we should think and say.
“There were many recommendations in the Royal Commission’s report that this Government has decided to ignore. The Prime Minister’s insistence in tying these speech restrictions to the awful attacks on the Muslim community in Christchurch is disingenuous and unfair to New Zealanders to whom free speech and supporting Muslim Kiwis are both important.
“This is a Government incapable of delivering on anything beyond regulating and taxing. Hate Speech laws appeal to them because they require little more than handing down an edict that thou shall not say what the Government deems to be insulting or hateful.
“I am happy to discuss how these matters can be better managed in the law and to look at expanding the groups that are protected. However, the National Party will be consistent in maintaining a high threshold of ‘incitement to violence’.
“In the absence of any clarity from the Government, I am calling for the Prime Minister to scrap her confusing hate speech proposals. They are a complete overreach and New Zealanders don’t want them.”