The Government wants to make major changes to the laws governing hate speech in New Zealand, including the creation of a new criminal offence with harsher penalties and the protection of more minority groups.
Last week, the Government published a discussion document that outlines plans to add religious groups and rainbow communities in beefed-up hate speech legislation.
The proposals also include a 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.
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was interviewed by Newshub Nation at the weekend about the proposals and appeared unsure about what kind of scenarios would lead to prosecution under the proposed changes.
He was asked if, for example, Millennials could be prosecuted for expressing hatred towards Baby Boomers over ballooning house prices, and Faafoi couldn't give a definitive answer.
"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," he 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".
National Party leader Judith Collins has promised to reverse the hate speech laws, calling them an attempt to control New Zealanders.
"This is an opportunistic grab at one of our most fundamental rights and New Zealanders can be assured that we will fight this on their behalf," she said.
"This is about control. It is about ensuring that only approved opinions are allowed and making questioning those opinions criminal. The matter of who decides what opinions are acceptable is unclear."
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