The Green Party welcomes hate speech reform to protect religious groups, but is concerned that the exclusion of women, rainbow, and disability communities sends a signal that these groups are less deserving of protection.
“Every community targeted by hate deserves to be protected,” says the Green Party’s justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.
“The Green Party is pleased that faith groups will finally be covered but the Government has missed the opportunity to ensure that every community that we know is targeted by extremism and hate can feel safe.
“We know that extremism now hugely targets women, rainbow, and disability communities. Leaving them out of these changes is dangerous and makes New Zealand an outlier among like-minded nations, such as the UK, Canada, EU, with modern hate speech and hate crime law.
“Faith communities have been very clear that their call for better protection has always been to ensure no other group has to go through the pain and loss that our Muslim community endured on 15th March 2019.
“No group has called for just themselves to be protected.
“Love, peace, and compassion is a far stronger force than the forces of hate and division. Rather than wasting the last three years, the Government should have been brave enough to have the hard conversations we need to have as a country; to shine the light into the shadows of hatred that exist in pockets of our society
“One of the heartbreaking lessons of the March 15th terror attack was that the targetted community had been reporting a rise in the type and frequency of hate for years, with no way for our agencies to capture or respond to that trend.
“The Royal Commission into the Mosque terror attack clearly calls for the Government to be responsive to new and emerging types of threat and extremism.
“The Centre for Excellence in Counterterrorism, formed as a result, held a national hui this month with data presented to show the rise of threats for race, gender, religious, and disability communities. The Government today shows a sad unwillingness to respond.
“It is a sad reality that 51 members of the Muslim community had to be brutally murdered by a terrorist radicalised online, a Royal Commission of Inquiry, and still no comprehensive reform of the very laws that could have prevented that tragedy,” says Golriz Ghahraman.