The Green Party today welcomed the first reading in Parliament of legislation to protect religious groups from hate speech, but remain concerned that other groups at risk of extremist violence have been excluded.
“The Government has a responsibility to ensure the law protects groups most at risk from hate speech,” says the Green Party's justice spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman.
“While the Government has taken steps to better protect religious groups from hate speech it has failed to include changes that would protect women, rainbow, and disability communities. This is a frightening decision for those who continue to experience the threat and intimidation of hate speech.
“It is a decision that makes New Zealand an outlier among modern democracies, like the EU, UK, Canada and the US. It ignores what experts and communities have told us about the threat of modern terror.
“The Green Party is clear that the scope of the Human Rights Act must be expanded to protect women, rainbow, and disability communities from hate speech, while maintaining a high threshold for whether such expression is lawful or unlawful.”
“The Bill that had its first reading today represents a back down by the Government that leaves our communities vulnerable.
“The Green Party will continue to support those left out by the Government today, with lived-experience of hate. The cost of side-lining these voices is too high.
“Now is the time to act boldly to help make Aotearoa a place where no matter who you are, or who you love, you are safe,” says Golriz Ghahraman.
The Green Party’s rainbow spokesperson, Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere added:
“Aotearoa should be a place where takatāpui and Rainbow communities can live with dignity, free from discrimination and hate.
“Unfortunately, many of our takatāpui and Rainbow whānau experience microaggression and hate speech, and the violence that comes with it.
“The recent Identify survey of nearly 5000 takatāpui and Rainbow young people shows the effect of this on their mental health. We envision an Aotearoa where this trauma is recognised and they have legal recourse for the harm they experience.
“Successive governments have made a political choice to deny our whānau the legal protection they deserve. We are shocked this government will not change that.”
The Green Party’s spokesperson for women and disabled communities, Jan Logie added:
“In a fair and inclusive society, everyone should be free from harm. No one should ever be afraid for their safety because of who they are, or live with a disability.”