Democracy matters. However, it is clear that there are some New Zealanders who are taking this for granted as they push both a separatist and ‘hate speech’ agenda. Both need to be rejected.
The He Puapua report, now being considered by government, effectively lists a range of initiatives to separate our services based on ethnicity: Separate health systems, court systems, and even a suggestion of a new Upper House of Parliament. This is not the recipe for a harmonious, multi-cultural New Zealand, but rather, a segregated one. In governance terms, it simply undermines democracy – one person, one vote – and replaces it with preferences for those who identify with a particular group.
Simultaneously, the government is exploring hate speech legislation. What is proposed goes far beyond criminalising inciting violence, which is already covered in law. Instead, the proposals dangerously conflate having a different opinion on a topic with violence. If something you say insults or makes someone feel unsafe, then you are supposedly propagating hate.
The freedom to speak is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. Differences of views are inevitable and we should resist all and any attempt to force people into a single narrative on issues.
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