Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register
Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Seymour welcomes reports that Government will honour vote


ACT Leader David Seymour is welcoming reports that Justice Minister Andrew Little will not seek to overturn a vote favouring free speech.

“It would have been a terrible thing to go backwards by criminalising speech just as we went forward by taking abortion out of the Crimes Act.

“I am a strong supporter of abortion law reform, and have said the liberalisation does not go far enough. I have little time for the odious ogres who protest abortion clinics, but free speech means defending the rights of people you disagree with.

“I didn’t come to Parliament to make laws where a Minister can decide to suspend freedom of expression in a given area, even for noble purposes. The Government, and people in favour of these so-called safe zones, did not, in my view, think hard enough about the precedent they were setting.

“The so-called safe areas promoted the idea that we should be able to shut down people we don’t want to hear from, going beyond existing laws against harassment. Had the bill passed with this amendment, it would doubtlessly have been used as a justification for preventing protest in other areas.

“Farmers could point to the vilification of the sector by protestors and the mental health impacts it has had. They might in future ask for laws against protesting them, citing this legislation.

“Oil and gas companies could point to the health and safety implications of protests, and ask for new powers to suppress protests, citing this legislation. If these examples seem far-fetched, it is only because we don’t have such laws suppressing speech in New Zealand. We must keep it that way.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“To impair free speech in this way requires a serious justification. On the face of it, the harm caused to women in such a vulnerable position faced with such odious people might justify impairing free speech. However, the only recent methodical enquiry into the matter, by the Law Commission, said:

'The Commission has not seen any clear evidence that the existing laws around intimidating and anti-social behaviour are inadequate, as would be required to justify the introduction of safe access zones.'

“Rejecting so-called safe zones in favour of protecting free speech was the right thing to do, and I’m glad the Government is not trying to revote this.”

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Skewed Media Coverage Of Gaza

Now that he’s back as Foreign Minister, maybe Winston Peters should start reading the MFAT website which is currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of how Kiwis alerted the rest of the world to the genocide in Rwanda. How times have changed ...

In 2023, the government is clutching its pearls because senior Labour MP Damien O’Connor has dared suggest that Gaza’s civilian population - already living under apartheid and subjected to sixteen years of an illegal embargo, and now being herded together and slaughtered indiscriminately amid the destruction of their homes, schools, mosques, and hospitals - are also victims of what amounts to genocide. More


 
 
ACT: Call To Abolish Human Rights Commission

“The Human Rights Commission’s appointment of a second Chief Executive is just the latest example of a taxpayer-funded bureaucracy serving itself at the expense of delivery for New Zealanders,” says ACT MP Todd Stephenson. More


Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.