GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Should hate speech become a crime?

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.


  1. Bryan’
    ‘The litmus test, I suggest, is whether what is said, shown or written is deliberately calculated to cause harm.’
    The key word here is ‘deliberate’.
    I tell a group of people, ‘ all religious belief is absurd. Anyone who believes in a supernatural being who oversees human events is completely deluded.’
    One of the people who listens to me later goes and sets fire to a church.
    Was it my deliberate action that made this person set fire to a church? Am I guilty of hate speech? What penalty should I receive? ( please do not sentence me to listen to sermons every day for the next seven years – that would be really inhuman).

  2. How do you know “whether what is said, shown or written is deliberately calculated to cause harm.”? And what kind of “harm”?

    And let’s try out some hypothetical examples.

    If I were to say “The ‘gender affirmation’ approach to teenage gender dysphoria is irresponsible and unethical”, would that be hate speech?

    What about if someone were to say in public “I don’t trust The Māori Party”, with every intention of causing electoral harm to said party. Would that be hate speech?

    Bruce like you I’m all in favour of people behaving decently, but what makes you think “hate speech” legislation is ever going to achieve that.

  3. Define Hate speech? Is that the label that’s thrown at you when you don’t agree with an indoctrinated Mel or Gen Z’s worldly wisdom on everything?
    Or, the hate of an ideological unfounded belief system?

    Either way, these two generations have fallen down the rabbit hole and bathed themselves in Qanon doctrine and have been weaponised by neoliberal thought police by Labour and the Gweens.

    It’s just about to run its cycle and about to flame out. Buy some popcorn and beers because this is going to be a doozy!

    • I don’t know why the woke just focus on youtubers and Twitter accounts. There are legitimate targets for termination starting with Rebecca Ketteridge. All the way people like her and police have been careful to shield themselves from criticism by carefully moving the woke towards targets that are more displeasing to the elites namely people who try and organise against the government. Literally stopping the next terror attack is just a secondary objective to those who wish to shield vulnerable people from nasty words.

  4. Don’t you think that speaking ill of someone in a way that can be identified as ‘hateful’, ‘racist’. ‘transphobic’. ‘misogynist’, ‘sexist’, etc, (I can’t think of the word for anti- male) is more a marker of an unsettled soul with a depleted lexicon than a felon?
    I see your point but I think giving police the power to edit your every thought certainly prompts grave concern….. we now have tech that can quite literally reveal the thoughts and words of a lifetime. Rather than dishing out tickets for speaking out of turn I should have thought that up-skilling in the art of subtle communication would be a more beneficial goal. Psychopaths tend to speak in code anyway, there is no way the true meaning of their words is apparent until after the fact.

  5. Yeah right, and Bryan Bruce is to decide on where the boundaries lie on ‘deliberate’ and ‘harm’.
    That’ll work.

  6. …’The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass of numbers and their dead weight. Thus it denies the value of personality in man, contests the significance of nationality and race, and thereby withdraws from humanity the premise of its existence and its culture. As a foundation of the universe, this doctrine would bring about the end of any order intellectually conceivable to man. And as, in this greatest of all recognizable organisms, the result of an application of such a law could only be chaos, on earth it could only be destruction for the inhabitants of this planet’…

    ‘Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord’…



    Hate speech from Adolf Hitler, Mein Kamf.

    An ideology dedicated to autocracy, censorship and exclusivision. And also subjectivism.

    Hate Speech.

    He basically didn’t like trade unions and called them ‘mass of numbers’ and dead weight. He also didn’t seem to like Jews very much. He liked power, autocratic leadership and the preservation of one race over all others. Nice guy.


  7. Umm you obviously haven’t read the discussion document Bryan.
    It’s a load of Orwellian garbage and extremely dangerous.
    It will not make our society more cohesive.
    And sadly is such an unmitigated piece of garbage all going well will see Labour thrown out of office.
    Jacinda needs to do some real thinking for the first time in her life.
    She has no right to tell us what to think and say.
    Andrew Little is a bully and Faafoi is a waste of space.
    It would be laughable if it were not so scary.
    Personally I would rather hear what the haters have to say so I can pour scorn on them.
    Shutting down debate will destroy our society.
    It is anti intellectual.
    Very convenient for Beijing who I am sure never let a chance go by to stir the pot on race.
    Jacinda is thick astwoo short planks and she doesn’t even know she’s being played.

  8. Worth Watching! Stop the intolerance of intolerance!

    Defend Free Speech

    The forerunner of the Defend Free Speech campaign was called “Reform Section 5”. This speech by Rowan Atkinson at the launch event in Parliament in 2012 should be heard by every politician, journalist and campaigner before they start calling for laws to silence those they regard as ‘extremists’.


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