Could Millennials be jailed for hating on Boomers? Kris Faafoi answers tough questions about the new hate speech proposals

Proposed new laws around hate speech have come up against fierce opposition, with ACT leader David Seymour calling them a "huge win for cancel culture" and National's Simon Bridges labelling the changes "Orwellian". 

Penalties include up to three years in jail and $50,000 fines.

Newshub Nation grilled Justice Minister Kris Faafoi on potential scenarios and what might happen under the new laws, which are up for public consultation. 

Will the changes end racism in New Zealand?

I don't think you're going to find any society where racism can be completely extinct, but we have to keep trying. 

If I write an opinion piece 'Jacinda Ardern is a communist or a dictator', could I be stung for hate speech? 

Well, let's not use that as something theoretical, but we don't want this process to be seen in any way that we're stymying people to get their opinion about the people that inhabit this place. You've got the freedom to express that… as media - but your intent might not be to incite hatred against us. 

If Millennials express hatred towards Boomers because they don't think they are going to be able to own a house, could they be found liable for hatred?

If it's an opinion on a particular group, then again, it depends on what you say. If your intent is to incite hatred against them, then potentially. But again, it's up to the police and what you say. I'm the Minister of Justice, I don't get to decide that. Millennials having a go at Boomers about house prices? I'm not necessarily sure if that's inciting hatred.

Kris Faafoi.
Kris Faafoi. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

Laurel Hubbard, the trans Olympian who has been facing criticism and bullying, would she be covered?

If someone were to give their opinion about her as an individual? Again, that's freedom of expression. If someone were to express an opinion about a particular group and inciting hatred towards that particular group, then potentially they could be covered. As an individual, we can give our free opinion. If they are having a crack at her because she is a part of a group that is protected under the Human Rights Act, that's a completely different kettle of fish.

What about if someone said that homosexuals are going to hell like Israel Folau did? 

Look, this is the beauty of the current regime. I think if you are looking at inciting hatred against them, then there could be a criminal offense… I'm not going to get into the absolute details of every case here, but if they can prove that it is targeted at a group, it is targeted at a group that is protected under the Human Rights Act and you are apt to incite hatred and normalise hatred against one of those groups, then you could find yourself foul of the law.

What about the mosque survivor who says that a man told him that 'this is why you people get killed'?

I'm not going to nickel and dime every case. But if people say things that are designed to incite hatred against a particular group that has protection under the Human Rights Act, then you could find yourself out of the loop. 

Laurel Hubbard.
Laurel Hubbard. Photo credit: Getty Images

What about the platforms that are hosting hate speech? Can Twitter and Facebook face prosecution if they're allowing language that's deemed hate speech under these laws? 

The current proposals don't deal with the platforms. They deal with individuals who might be inciting the hatred as being the problem.

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