Let’s be clear about the purpose of the proposed law change.
It’s not about restricting freedom of speech.
Because Free Speech has never meant the freedom to say hateful things calculated to denigrate or cause harm to others.
Free speech is healthy for a society.
Democracy thrives on debate, the exchange of ideas and yes – even disagreement.
Hate speech is not healthy for society.
It fosters intolerance, puts people lives and well-being at risk ,and undermines the foundations of our democratic way of life.
The litmus test, I suggest, is whether what is said, shown or written is deliberately calculated to cause harm.
It’s not rocket science.
If we want a decent society we have to behave decently ourselves.
So if the government wants to move hate speech from the Human Rights Act to the Crimes Act in order to encourage people to think before they speak or write something designed to attack the human rights and well-being of any of my fellow New Zealanders , then it’s yes from me.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.