“The Government’s proposed hate speech laws are a huge win for cancel culture and will create an even more divided society,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“What sort of government promotes social cohesion by having the state go around punishing people for unpopular views?
“This is a solution looking for a problem and will take away basic rights to free speech, it will shut down debate and make people too afraid to express valid opinions.
“It will put cancel culture on steroids.
“Whether Justice Minister Kris Faafoi likes it or not, Police will face pressure to prosecute people with unpopular views.
“There will be petitions and lynch mobs stating if the Police don’t prosecute then they’ll be complicit in hate. It will leave our already over stretched Police in a hopeless position.
“The last thing a brave and hardworking front-line cop wants to do is be weaponised into culture wars.
“The only people who win from today’s announcement are the Twitter mob and the perpetually offended.
“Faafoi also needs to explain his comments about sentencing. As it stands there are violence offences that carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison and his Hate Speech Laws carry three years.
“That means you will get longer in jail for insulting that assaulting.
“These laws are being pushed following the Christchurch terrorist attacks. The Minister today admitted these laws wouldn’t have prevented the attacks from happening. He doesn’t even know what problem he’s trying to solve.
“Faafoi is just going through the motions on this law. His claims that he is engaging with political parties is bogus. He has not replied to our correspondence after asking ACT to meet.
“ACT will continue to fight this law which will do nothing but divide society even further and ultimately increase hateful attitudes in our society.”
ACT’s petition to protect Free Speech can be found here.
In contrast to the likes of Andrew Little, Kris Faafoi comes across as level-headed, even sensible — but he’s simply obeying what most in Jacinda’s cabinet want: to silence ideological opponents. National, ACT and Winston Peters all made clear their opposition to any law changes in this area last year. —Eds