Poll: Should Israel Folau's gay comments be covered by hate speech law?

Aussie rugby player Israel Folau says gay people who don't repent are going to hell - but should this be considered a hate crime?

The Human Rights Act section 61 protects against hate speech directed at people on the basis of "colour, race or ethnic or national origins", but not sexual orientation.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she's "very cautious" about calling Mr Folau's remarks hate speech, adding that she's seen no "momentum" to criminalise it.

And National MP Paula Bennett told The AM Show on Monday that strengthening hate speech laws to cover comments like Mr Folau's would be "a step too far".

The Human Rights Commission last year said it didn't want a widening of the Act to cover more views as hate speech, fearing free speech was under threat - particularly at universities.