NZ Herald nzherald.co.nz 28 Apr, 2021 02:00 am

Opinion: New Zealand's hate speech proposals need more detail and wider debate before they become law

Opinion: New Zealand's hate speech proposals need more detail and wider debate before they become law
Serious consideration and public debate needed before proposals finally become law

The closest are provisions within section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993 which prohibit incitement of racial disharmony.Photo / NZME The Human Rights Act also contains a civil liability provision allowing individuals to complain to the Human Rights Commission about incitement of racial disharmony.A complaint to the Human Rights Commission might involve its mediation services in the first instance, but can also result in the matter being referred to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.co/MSuUVstx9O — Newshub Politics (@NewshubPolitics) April 19, 2021 What the proposed reforms would do As part of its broader recommendations to promote social cohesion, the royal commission suggested some reasonably narrow changes to the existing Human Rights Act provisions: add incitement of disharmony on the basis of religion move the criminal offence to the Crimes Act 1961 and increase the penalty tighten the definitions within the provision.

Where the Cabinet paper goes significantly further than the royal commission is in its recommendation the new law be extended beyond race and religion to cover all categories protected under section 21 of the Human Rights Act.The paper also proposes a similar expansion of the civil provision in the Human Rights Act (largely ignored by the royal commission), and adding a prohibition on incitement of discrimination.

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