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Police Call for Hate Crime Legislation

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has called for specific "hate crime" legislation to be considered for introduction into New Zealand:

Speaking to a select committee at Parliament this morning, Bush said there were anecdotal reports that hate crimes were on the rise, though it was difficult to measure because police did not keep records of this type of offending.

Police were discussing with the Human Rights Commission whether a specific hate crime offence should be written into the law.

Bush said police were looking at whether it was appropriate to have "a more relevant and specific piece of legislation" to cover similar offending.

"As a commissioner, you never want to see things like that. You never want to see communities treated in that way."

Police Minister Paula Bennett has allayed fears of so-called "hate speech" being criminalised, by stating that there is no need for such laws "at the moment."

I don't see the need for specific hate crime legislation at the moment. It's not something that's on our agenda.

Other commentators have pointed out that such legislation often leads to people being arrested for saying the wrong things and that the police should be enforcing the laws, not making new ones.

In December last year, Dutch politician Geert Wilders was convicted of a hate crime after asking if his supporters wanted "more or fewer Moroccans" at a rally.