ACT MP Karen Chhour has spoken out against Jacinda Ardern for joking that hate speech laws won't protect National leader Judith Collins from "Karen" insults.
In a somewhat chaotic session of Parliament on Wednesday, the Prime Minister defended herself from criticism of proposed hate speech law changes from Collins by throwing a tweet back at her.
"I disagree with the member's statement on Twitter that somehow it will become illegal to call someone a 'Karen'," Ardern said. "That is absolutely incorrect, and I apologise that means these laws will not protect the member from such a claim."
The House erupted in laughter. The name 'Karen' is often used to describe white middle-aged women who become confrontational when they do not get their way.
But for ACT MP Karen Chhour, the joke is on Ardern.
"My question is whether the nation's Karens will be deemed a protected group?" asks Chhour. "Would, for instance, erasing Karens by carelessly merging them with the nation's Judiths amount to hate speech?
"If the Prime Minister can't explain why a scenario as basic as this would not be actionable under the laws she's proposing then she should dump the law and apologise to every Karen from the Cape to the Bluff."
It comes after Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was unable to give definitive answers on Newshub Nation, when examples were put to him on hate speech proposals, such as whether Millennials could be prosecuted for expressing hatred towards Baby Boomers over ballooning house prices.
"If it's an opinion on a particular group then it depends on what you say. If your intent is to incite hatred against them then, potentially," Faafoi responded.
Ardern defended Faafoi on Monday, telling The AM Show he was "pepper-potted with a bunch of examples and it's not for us to determine what a court may or may not do".
Ardern described the examples put forward by Newshub Nation as "trivialisation" of what happened on March 15, 2019.
Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien pointed out in a rebuttal that it was "insulting and irresponsible to pit journalists - or anyone who questions or debates the legislation - as somehow being in opposition to the needs of the victims of March 15".
The Government plans to include religious groups and rainbow communities in beefed up hate speech legislation, with a proposed new criminal offence in the Crimes Act for inciting violence against listed groups, and a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $50,000 fine.