(media statement)

Labour is promising tougher hate speech laws. This will undermine our fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Hate speech laws are divisive and dangerous, turning debate into a popularity contest where the majority can silence unpopular views.

Jacinda Ardern has described the kind of language Labour would make unlawful: ‘when you see it, you know it’.

This is the danger: ‘hate speech is deeply subjective’.

Threatening others or inciting violence should be illegal, but something as subjective as ‘offensive’ language should never be unlawful.

Freedom of expression is one of the most important values our society has.

We can only solve our most pressing problems in an open society in which free thought and open enquiry are encouraged.

ACT will continue to defend the critical principle that nobody should ever be punished on the basis of opinion.

Please join our campaign to protect free speech here.

This is sure to be the big political issue of 2021. As we have for the last 21 months, we intend to take an active role in this campaign. —Eds