Hasty Jacinda retreat on Free Speech only empowers ACT more

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ‘disheartened’ by ACT’s anti-hate speech law campaign

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says ACT’s campaign against hate speech reforms has “disheartened” her because the Government is yet to make any decisions.

But ACT leader David Seymour immediately pushed back, saying he’s equally “disheartened” by the Prime Minister’s suggestion his party is not willing to engage.

The long-awaited reforms of hate speech laws in the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch terror attack could include expanded penalties for breaching the law, according to a Cabinet paper obtained by Newsroom.

The Prime Minister waded through the raw grief of the Christchurch atrocity and she would not be a human being if that didn’t have an enormous impact upon her.

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That is why she has no sense of political capital she is about to burn through with the hate speech legislation.

While being critical of a lack of hate speech prosecutions, the Government are looking to hand over to Police the power to prosecute and imprison for 3 year anyone who breaks ill defined hate speech laws.

This push to start a free speech war occurs at a unique time in peoples experience with social media.

Most people are on social media, most people have seen woke lynch mobs hanging people for breaches of woke doctrine, most people self censor now and the backlash to that type of micro aggression policing is ripe for ACT to plunder.

The woke of course can’t help themselves and are already attacking anyone online who is framing this as a free speech issue which of course only makes middle NZ shudder that the woke will become judge, jury and executioner of these new laws.

New Zealanders will stop fearing people being attacked by hate speech and start fearing they will be accused of hate speech.

Jacinda’s sudden realisation of how this free speech debate could dangerously empower ACT is about 3 years too late.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe Jacinda just needs to get her head out of the clouds, or out of the sand, take your pick, full stop.

    A fair bit of her decision making on a plethora of subjects leaves me to think she is the polar opposite of a deep thinker.

    Is there no one in Labour, especially the leadership circle, who can point her in the right direction?

    • XRay, Feel free to enlighten us with your “deep thinking” on the present proposed laws:
      Up to 3 years in prison for hate speech

      Your appraisal?
      Your thoughts on the need for such laws?
      On their limits?
      On clarification?
      On safeguards against abuse?

      …anything?

      (Or do we just launch into another “let’s beat up on Jacinda again and blame her for anything/ everything we don’t like, however unfinished, and whatever opportunities we may be blowing, in the process, to actually have a say and contribute to the new laws”.

      • The PM leads a potential law change that in essence criminalises free speech. Then complains out loud that ACT are being big meanies not going along with it and it’s all up for grabs, only that’s not the way it seems.

        To criminalise what someone says, ugly as it is, is exactly the same as stopping people’s right to protest because subjectively it offends some people. This makes talking out loud a minefield in a quagmire and seeing how the Greens take offence to everything, that law change would only empower those sort to stop opposig thought being expressed.

        What is being proposed has serious ramifications yet Jacinda seems to only see the upside, not the negative consequences. Hence my comment she sees things on the face of it, not in depth.

        You want another example, our PM is oblivious to the vast array of negative consequences to doing virtually nothing about housing. What were her words…”it cannot keep increasing at the rate that’s it is”, as if the whole housing mess had just passed her by. As if it possibly could.

        • To criminalise what someone says, ugly as it is, is exactly the same as stopping people’s right to protest because subjectively it offends some people.

          Well do you agree with that “inciting violence” needs to be illegal?
          I do, for sure.

          Some sort of strengthening of the laws that we already have, is in the works – it is going to take place. We have an opportunity now to identify and highlight the danger areas. But that opportunity will be wasted if it is spent moaning on about “Jacinda, Jacinda”. That is the very lazy person’s option. She is an easy target, but doing that, achieves nothing, in terms of affecting the proposed legislation.

          • Crimes Act 1961 No 43 (c) To incite, procure, or encourage violence, lawlessness, or disorder; or. (d) To incite, procure, or encourage the commission of any offence that is prejudicial to …

          • Well Kheala since you are so demanding and blind to this.

            Inciting violence already exists in the Crimes Act and Summary Offences Act so take a deep breath and calm down. And they are regularly used depending on the circumstances.

            But I’m guessing you want to see the big house a little more full so let’s up the penalties for what is said by any person at any time.

            “the incitement of disharmony, based on an intent to stir up, maintain or normalise hatred, through threatening, abusive or insulting communications”.

            What’s hatred Kheala? Whatever a subjective snowflake wants it to be. I don’t like the colour of your hair? You think I hate and so if I post something that suggests I find your hair amusing well then I could easily be guilty of insulting communications because you think it’s insulting and hateful?

            How much bloody time will be wasted by the police who have far more to do than time allows with peoples hurt feelings? And those types will make sure their feelings matter far more than anything else in the world if the police ignore their feelings.

            Honestly don’t be so empty-headed and naive if you don’t think wankers will use this poorly written crap in their deepest and most warped beliefs someone who says something they do not agree with is hateful and insulting.

            Think about it, the race relations conciliator accuses the police of being racist. That is pretty hateful. And insulting. Bound to cause disharmony. He hates on ALL cops and tells the public so and you can believe that throwaway line can have some pretty violent outcomes for some cop for people who brought into that. Is he guilty? Some cop may think so and make a complaint! Or doesn’t that matter because it’s only police?

            This is a mess that the law cannot solve without burning perfectly innocent people along with it. So the law will have to be drafted in such a way that ensures it doesn’t burn innocent people but I can tell you for free, there is no way of doing it without it being totally ineffective!

            • Just to be clear, I am NOT “for” the proposed law changes. If you’d read my comment when the topic was first presented in the other column (Q&A), you’d see that.

              But changes are going to be made, however much we may protest. What we do have is a small window of opportunity to point out the worst aspects of what they’ve proposed, so that as many people as possible can understand this.

              It warrants more discussion, a lot more, and hopefully, input from more people who have thought it through.

            • So the law will have to be drafted in such a way that ensures it doesn’t burn innocent people

              Exactly!

              there is no way of doing it without it being totally ineffective

              I disagree. (I don’t have the solution, but that doesn’t mean that no solution is possible. It needs more thought.)

  2. “Is there no one in Labour, especially the leadership circle, who can point her in the right direction?”
    I’m afraid not.
    Just when you think someone might do something transformational and kind, and in the interests of the public – such as Little and Pike, or Chippie and PS reform – they get neutered and end up crapping out. Then there are those that just aren’t up to it from the start.
    I had hopes for Kieran McNulty till he shoved his bloody foot in it – thankfully exposing himself.
    As we know, a huge part of it is to do with our public service masters-of-the-universe.
    Maybe Poto Williams?

  3. It’s a disgrace. There was nothing wrong with the old hate speech laws.

    This and the stupid gun laws that target the law abiding gun owners while encouraging illegal guns to come into NZ (along with the drugs) and now shooting up the streets seems to have given ACT a lot of support aka from less than 1% and a joke in 2014 to 9% in 7 years….

    By the time the nazi woke led free speech laws come in, Natz and ACT could be back in business as the Jacinda dust wears off, the Greens woke speak take them below 5%, where they hate their voters (many of whom are old, white, middle class, home owning, environmental people similar to the demographics of the Greens themselves when they were popular, but who they now love to sneer at). Yep, a bit of dirty politics could turn the tables!

    NZ First voters and their 9% from 2014 was destroyed as they seemed to be going against everything the stood for then, aka anti TPP, anti immigration, anti assets sell offs…

    ACT could take their 9%….

    You would hope something as important as freedom of speech would be not taken lightly but it seems that polling and spin is taking over Labour policy, and that can be manipulated, and is what traditionally leads to a big upset at election time.

  4. Too much more nanny(policy)and people will start calling our Jacinda, Granny Ardern. Labour need to be careful jumping to the whim of too many groups. Yes we need to feel safe, yes we hate the nasty underbelly of racism and discrimination that is prevalent in our country but we have to be careful of taking away peoples civil liberties. For example trying to stop people from smoking but at the same time introducing policies that encourage more drinking. And up to three years jail being proposed for hate speech is in line with what people get who commit manslaughter.

    • Covid is pa – I completely agree with you re the smoker clobbering, but that could just be another bossy Indian woman ( non-racist statement of fact). Still, how many smokers hit the road and kill people as a result ? Or are even just responsible for emergency services seeing splatter sights which they’d far sooner not ? Tax payer millions spent mopping up inebriated messes, and casualty staff being punched on the job ?

      Maybe free cigarettes for confirmed smokers over 65 ? No compulsion – just speed up their demise, increase the joie de vivre of their final years, save the taxpayer future health costs by hastening their exit. No compulsion. Just choices. Choices without the sanctimonious judgments of the pleasure squeezers.

      I guess that the big brewers are mainly Kiwis and local voters, not off-shore power brokers, so too right, toady up to them – but to hell with politicians pontificating about the human cost of cigarettes when so many tragedies are caused by alcohol abuse. What hypocrites they are – and is this hate speech ? Who’s the judge?

      save the taxpayer future health costs,

  5. Free speech is protected by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is incorporated into the NZ Bill of Rights Act. While a case can be made for protecting immutable characteristics such as race or disability, which are already largely provided for in New Zealand law in any case, privileging religious belief will enable religious extremists to fly under the radar without scrutiny or challenge. A really stupid, backward, if not also dangerous, proposal. Ardern’s “Hate speech”” law must be opposed by any sane person.

  6. OMG…? Who could do it? Who could coldly and calmly vote for act? Imagine meeting the new neighbours and you kind of get along but then you discover they vote act…! You’d have to move. You’d have to have one of those make-over teams come in and wipe down the outsides of the walls closest to them. What would your pets think? They’d always be trying to crawl under the sofa. You’re dog would try to bury their human skin when they took it off to wipe down their lizard scales!
    Every time you write “…empowers ACT…” it, in fact, does. So stop it!
    act. “act,act,act ! ” Said fast enough the word ‘act’ sounds like that sound the aliens make in Mars Attacks ! Coincidence? Or something else !? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Attacks!
    roger douglas is slithering around under act’s skin! bIG mike hoskings claims greed is good and stated that he’s to the right of roger. I assume he means politically too and not just in bed?
    The freak show that is act has been around for years and the damage they’ve caused either directly or indirectly is easily calculated by doing a head count of the hungry children and the homeless they’ve gleefully left in their greedy, worthless wake.
    Here’s a final word on wee mike hoskings. No longer douglas’s toy boy but now covered in sweaty jonky prints. The oily little creep makes bolsanro seem moderate.
    Wikipedia:
    Politics and business interests
    In an interview with North & South in 1990, Hosking described himself as “a money person, I’m a capitalist. I’m to the right of Roger Douglas.”[10]
    In 2012, Hosking was revealed to have received $48,000 in payments and perks from SkyCity Auckland Casino for doing regular work for them, while still working as presenter for TVNZ.[11] During controversy over proposed taxpayer subsidies for Sky City building a national convention centre, Hosking wrote in defence of the subsidy, describing the convention centre as an “aspirational investment”.[12]
    In 2013, he was the master of ceremonies at Prime Minister John Key’s state of the nation speech, which he also endorsed.[13] Hosking rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, stating on Seven Sharp that he doesn’t believe in the IPCC report.[14]
    In 2015, Hosking was accused of overt political bias by NZ First leader Winston Peters and Labour leader Andrew Little,[15] a claim strongly denied by Hosking and Prime Minister John Key.[16][17]
    During the 2017 election campaign, Hosking was appointed moderator of one of the televised leader debates, and was again accused of political bias by much of the New Zealand public. This led to a petition for his replacement being widely circulated, and collecting over 75,000 signatures. Debate host and organisers TVNZ responded that it would not placate the petition signers, and affirmed that it will keep him on as moderator.[18]
    There’s one worthwhile thing that act could inspire. Wide spread, on-going, street protests to have them removed from OUR parliament and exhaustively and publicly investigated.

  7. I think she’s been reading up on the Weimar-Nazi era in Germany over the Christmas break?

    How the Nationalists and Nazi’s cleaned out the Communists.

  8. The only thing this will achieve that the worst of the worst don’t post their vitriol online… which means you can’t possibly identify them and keep an eye on them. Banning “hate speech” (itself an obviously extremely nebulous term), doesn’t stop hateful thoughts. Not allowing people to voice their opinions (even if given in a “hateful” manner) doesn’t help with how they think. This is the dumbest thing this government has proposed so far. It’s not like there aren’t more important things to do – you know, priorities and all that. Banning “hate speech” is truly “First World Problems”.

  9. I’m not convinced she has backed down!

    Though if she has, that’s great. I think ‘freedom of speech’ in NZ is working reasonably well how it is.

  10. One of the concerns I have about the proposed legislation, in its present form, is this “inciting disharmony” nonsense. It presupposes a situation of “harmony”.
    If we lived in a reasonably equitable society, instead of one of gross inequality, then.. maybe, I don’t know. But to criminalise discussions that would lead to “disharmony” in our present state, …seems criminal.

    By “harmony” in our present situation they actually mean the status quo. ‘Maintaining harmony’ would seem to equate, to some extent, with enforcing the present state of affairs with all its inequality, with all its grief, injustice etc. …Something very wrong there.

    • Kheala. Agree. But had I been the PM, I’d have considered Act’s input, instead of complaining about being critiqued for something that she’s not even done – yet.

      Covid is pa raises the interesting issue of whacking smokers. For decades the Health Dept – and lots of us – have well known the main triggers for tobacco use. Instead of addressing the underlying social issues which lead to this very. powerful addiction, they take the easy way out, and they say let’s kick the victims a bit more. Very cruel.

      These politicians have the same mentalities as they who wanted to mess around with everybody’s shower heads, and light bulbs, and can be seen as little tyrants.

      Obesity and its concomitant issues like life-crippling and dollars-costly diabetes, is much harder to address than a single substance issue like smoking, and it can handicap kids’ lives and make them a misery, but it requires a multi – pronged approach, and more intellectual grunt than a simple easy focus on tobacco, so they look at the easier stuff.

      The hate speech proposals were a knee jerk reaction to a terrible happening. But as others have pointed out, existing legislation already covers most eventualities. Broadening it into subjective judgments based on hurt feelings, and real or imagined slights, has the potential to caused enormous disharmony and social and personal damage, as seen in some of the more absurd cases overseas.

      Historically, the worst offenders here have often been politicians protected by parliamentary privilege, unnecessarily crucifying opponents, for sleazy point-scoring. They should start by cleaning up their own acts. If possible.

  11. I find Jacinda a bit of a mixed Bag to say the least. On one side, prosecutions followed sharing of the mosque murders which were speedily removed from social media yet with equal horror we could watch events unfolding in Gaza where the Israel Defence Forces response to the great march of return was to kill 234 Palestinians and wounded upwards of 33,000, since it began 30th March 2018. Much of the horror could be viewed on line. Clearly Jacinda doesn’t place the IDF in the same category as he who shall remain unknown and still we appear to enjoy having their embassy in our midst. Will the proposed new laws ban any criticism of the IDF and label it anti semitism ?

    • Your last sentence is a valid concern.

      All of the rest of your comment belongs in the big black bag labelled “Jacinda caused all the harm in the world and we KNOW this because she hasn’t fixed it in between trying to run the country through numerous crises”. It’s a very very popular bag – so hey! Jump right in!!!

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