Māori Party and National divided over proposed hate speech law change

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Māori Party supports the proposed law change making hate speech a criminal offence.

The government's plan is in response to the Royal Commission of inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack.

Māori Party co-leader, Rawiri Waititi says his party has suffered anti-Māori rhetoric in recent months and wants to stop Māori being used as “political footballs”.

“When you start to use a race of people, and especially a race of people who have been marginalised … who (are) at the bottom of the judicial system, that is hate speech,” he claims. 

But National Party deputy leader, Dr. Shane Reti, opposes the change.

“We’re of a view that the government is undertaking a drastic overreach to start projecting the commission’s findings into hate speech. We think the line should be around incitement to violence. That’s where you cross the line and start moving into hate crime,” Reti says.

“Bottom line, what we see at the moment, we’ll repeal if we come into government.”