Māori Party support Harmful Digital Communications Bill

By Hone-Haunui Rapana

The Māori Party have thrown their support behind the Harmful Digital Communications Bill.  It has now reached its final reading before becoming an official law.

A new law to stamp out cyber bullying has passed its second reading.

Sean Lyon from Netsafe says, “People are causing each other harm using online technology and they find it difficult to get some kind of redress.  For that reason we need some kind of legislation to help those people.”

Māori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell says, “We supported this bill because of the people who have suffered hurt from photos and posts online.”

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill deals with abuse including texts and social media posts where people intimidate others.

Lyon says, “We hope to see is more encouragement for those people who are both feeling the harm, but also some kind of warning to those people who are causing that kind of harm.”

Measures in the Bill will establish a complaint handling agency, allow people to take serious complaints to the District Court, request the removal of harmful content and make it an offence to send messages and post material online.

Lyon says, “I think the numbers will increase as people realise that there is something more that can be done.”

Minister Flavell says, “We are wanting to create a pathway of support, but it's still up to each individual to decide what they want.”