by Geoffrey Churchman

Last week the Newsroom website on this page said it had obtained the Cabinet Paper put forward by Justice Minister Chris Faafoi showing what the Government has in store to “protect” us from so-called ‘hate speech’ and gives some of the intentions.

It shifts the current speech laws from the Human Rights Act to the Crimes Act, with up to three years in jail for “abusing or insulting communications”, or “inciting disharmony”.  

The intention also is to make many more types of discrimination subject to the law: including ‘hatred’ against religious belief, and even political belief.

“The scope of the [existing] provisions is too narrow — they do not protect groups such as religious groups or rainbow communities that are also targets of hate speech; the penalty and location of the criminal offence does not reflect the seriousness of the behaviour; the complaints process can be difficult to understand and access; and trans, gender diverse and intersex people are not explicitly protected by the Act”.

As well as criminal liability, the standard for civil liability would be expanded under the proposals to include cases where there has been “incitement to discrimination”, not just “incitement to hatred,” says Newsroom.

Unsurprsingly, civil libertarians like the Free Speech Coalition are appalled by these revelations and been swift to react. “Laws against ‘inciting disharmony’ sound like something out of communist China, not a western democracy,” says Dr David Cummin.

As has been said on Waikanae Watch before, it doesn’t seem to occur to Dear Leader and her minions that all this could actually become a double-edged sword and used against the Hard Left for the way they conduct themselves. Some of the vilest and most aggressive attacks we’ve seen have actually come from Labourites; last year we sent a complaint about the behaviour of their candidate Janet Holborow to the Labour Party’s HQ, as did someone else.

You may wonder when the Jacinda government can’t even satisfactorily build basic houses for people, how it is going to build enough jails to incacerate all the people who say things the government doesn’t like. If they are determined to go ahead with this, perhaps Jacinda and Co. should quickly access the construction drawings of the concentration camps and gulags created by totalitarian regimes during the 20th century and make a start on them.