New Zealand Law Society - Committee updates on hate speech legislation

Committee updates on hate speech legislation

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The Ministry of Justice is advising the Minister of Justice on planned legislative changes to the laws around "hate speech".

The Justice select committee has released its March 2020 report on the 2018/19 annual review of the Ministry of Justice.

It says the ministry has been consulting affected communities since the Christchurch mosque attack on 15 March 2019 on "hate speech".

The committee says it learnt that the Human Rights Commission facilitated the consultation.

"The ministry is now analysing the information from the consultation and expected to provide advice to the Minister before Christmas 2019. We look forward to hearing an announcement on possible hate speech legislation very soon."

Trial of mosque attack accused

The committee says it was pleased to hear that the ministry is carefully planning the management of hearings related to the trial of the man accused of the murder of 51 people.

"The ministry said it has reviewed trial processes in countries that have suffered similar crimes. It is satisfied that the judge will have sufficient powers and flexibility to ensure a just trial, while at the same time preventing abuse of the trial process as a platform for hate speech."

Question updates details

A written parliamentary question from ACT MP David Seymour to Justice Minister Andrew Little on 3 March 2020 asked if it was Mr Little's intention to introduce amendments to the Human Rights Act 1993 to Parliament this year?

Mr Little said he had  asked the Ministry of Justice to consider whether our current laws on hate speech are sufficient.

"This involves a complex balance between freedom of speech and protection of vulnerable people. All announcements resulting from this work, if any, will be made in due course."