Graham Adams: Will Ardern back away from new “hate speech” laws?

Victoria University 29 January 2021
Family First Comment: Excellent commentary – including reference to our recent polling

The conservative Christian lobby group Family First is also strongly opposed — and has the evidence to prove it is not alone. Earlier this month, it published the results of a poll of 1000 people by Curia Market Research in which respondents were asked: “Should it be a crime to publicly claim that sex is revealed at birth, and is not a matter of personal choice?” Seventy-three per cent were opposed. Seventeen per cent were unsure or refused to say; only nine per cent were clearly in favour.

What will make Ardern and Labour strategists blanch — if their own polling hasn’t already done so — is that the Curia results showed there was “little difference in view based on age, gender or political allegiance (including strong opposition to it being treated as a crime from Labour and Green voters)”.

Similarly, when asked, “Should it be a crime to publicly state a belief that marriage should only be between a man and woman?”, 80 per cent of respondents were opposed with only 12 per cent of respondents agreeing. Again, opposition was strong across all political allegiances.

Bob McCoskrie, Family First’s national director, concluded: “This latest polling confirms that despite the country’s horror at the terrorist act in Christchurch and the grotesque ideology behind it, the government does not have the support of New Zealanders for a radical transformation and expansion of ‘hate speech’ laws, and the government may actually alienate the very base that put them in power.”

Without firm indications of the form the legislation might take, critics like Family First are largely flying blind. It’s entirely possible that any new legislation might not allow prosecution for the examples they cited in their poll but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, who can say for sure?”