The Green Party has chosen to allow a split vote on today’s third reading of the Harmful Digital Communications Bill.
The Harmful Digital Communications Bill seeks to protect those being “harmed” by material on the internet and act as a remedy for those being cyber-bullied.
“Most of the Green Party caucus is supporting the harmful Digital Communications Bill caucus due to our concern for New Zealanders rights to personal security and the right to be safe from cyber-bullying,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
“This legislation has received strong support from organisations such as the Human Rights Commission.
“However, there have been strong submissions from media organisations who are concerned that this legislation may have a chilling effect upon freedom of speech.
“Four Green Party MPs will be opposing the final reading of this legislation. Gareth Hughes, Russel Norman, Julie Anne Genter and Steffan Browning have concerns about the possibility this legislation impact on New Zealanders and their right to freedom of speech.
“While a relatively rare occurrence there is provision for split voting in the Green Party caucus on various pieces of legislation.
“We were relaxed about allowing members of the caucus who felt very strongly about the freedom of speech issues relating to the bill to oppose this legislation at the final reading.
“However, the majority of caucus were concerned that there is currently a gap in the legislation enabling cyber-bullying and harassment to go unchallenged,” Mrs Turei said.
“All members of the Green Party will be keeping a close eye on this legislation to make sure that its implementation does not have a chilling effect on New Zealanders use of the internet and freedom to speak their minds.”