Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern concedes proposed hate speech threshold is lower than inciting violence

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being accused of misleading New Zealanders over her Government's hate speech proposals.

It has forced Ardern into a backdown of sorts, clarifying the proposed changes. It also appears Ardern and her Justice Minister Kris Faafoi are not on the same page.

Newshub Nation put the Millennial vs Baby Boomer example to the Justice Minister to test the parameters of the Government's proposed hate speech reforms.

Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien asked Faafoi 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," Faafoi responded.

The Prime Minister was played her Justice Minister's comments on The AM Show on Monday morning, and she argued otherwise.

"This is about extreme speech where you're inciting violence and hatred," Ardern said.

But that's wrong. The proposed threshold can be much lower than inciting violence. The Prime Minister has now been forced to concede there are other factors too - like insulting someone.

"There's a range of factors - incitement of violence is one of them," she later told reporters.

National leader Judith Collins says Ardern has "got it wrong".

The discussion document is clear: under the changes, a person would break the law if they intentionally stir up hatred by being threatening, abusive or even just insulting.

When asked if an insult is a high enough bar for hate speech, Ardern said: "Well of course, not on its own."

Collins says the work the Government has done is "ill-thought-out".

"She should pull the plug on it now," she told Newshub.

The Prime Minister insists she understands the hate speech proposals and that her Justice Minister does too, despite them appearing to be on different pages.

The proposal has been drawn up in response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attacks.

"The reason we're having this debate is the Royal Commission said to the New Zealand Government, 'You need to include religion'," Ardern told The AM Show.

But the proposed changes go much further than religion. It could cover any groups protected in the Human Rights Act. That includes over 65s - Boomers, and also political opinion.

Ardern told The AM Show the latter wasn't the case.

"In the interview from the Nation they implied political opinion is included - it is not," she said.

That's not right either. The Prime Minister says Cabinet ruled out including political opinion, but it is still included in their discussion document for the public.

"We removed political opinion," she told reporters. "Our view was that if people recommended it be included, they could do so."

ACT leader David Seymour said it could take New Zealand down the wrong path.

"Outlawing insulting people based on political opinion belongs in North Korea, not New Zealand," he told Newshub.

Hypothetical and real examples are a great way to test policy, so instead of trying to shut them down, the Prime Minister should simply present the answers - and it helps if they're the same answers given by her Justice Minister.