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Only ACT standing up for free speech?

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, June 26th, 2015 - 76 comments
Categories: act, blogs, internet, law - Tags: , , , , , ,

National’s Harmful Digital Communications Bill may have had some genuinely well intentioned goals, but some clauses are too broad. It can be interpreted as criminalising any criticism of the government online. In its current form it should be opposed.

Not a phrase I have cause to write very often, but bravo to ACT:

ACT breaks ranks on cyber bullying Bill

ACT has broken ranks and withdrawn support for a Government Bill that cracks down on cyber bullies and internet harassment.

The Bill has passed its committee stage and has to pass its third reading before it becomes law, Radio New Zealand reported.

Party leader and sole MP David Seymour says it’s too broad and ordinary internet users could fall foul of its provisions.

Mr Seymour has a support agreement with the Government and usually supports legislation, but says this Bill goes too far. … “We are left with an overly broad, unenforceable piece of legislation which countless ordinary people could inadvertently breach every day,” he said.

Tim Watkin at Pundit has already set it all out much better than I could:

Je ne suis pas Charlie say NZ MPs: eroding free speech

New Zealand MPs are so keen to be seen to be “doing something” about cyber-bullying that they are about to pass a poor piece of law that will do something terrible.

The way the bill works, is that if you feel something posted online is causing you harm – defined vaguely as “serious emotional distress” – you contact the webhost and demand the offending item be taken down. … if a distressed person isn’t happy with the host’s actions, they can go to an “approved agency” and then onto the courts. So will the Facebooks, news media and blogs of this world stick to existing processes and risk criminal conviction? Or will they take the easy road and just pull things offline?

Yes, I include news media in that list because there’s no exemption for news and current affairs under this bill and no defence of truth; investigative journalists can be labelled bullies as easily as bad-mouthed teens or roasters. Or satirists or cartoonists, for that matter.

If a current affairs investigation into a dodgy finance company offends that financier or his family… if a Fair Go report distresses some con man… or if a cartoon emotionally harms a pious soul, they now can use the law to ask for the offending item to be taken offline.

Now, perhaps news sites will hold the line. Perhaps the courts, when the case finally gets there, will defend journalism, satire and the like. Perhaps. Perhaps. But the bill is silent on these concerns.

So it’s either stupid politics or cynical politics. You can decide which. Either way, exercising your right to free speech in New Zealand is just about to get a bit harder.

Labour, Greens – what are you doing supporting this badly drafted and damaging bill? Please reconsider.

Update: The report I saw said Labour and Greens were supporting the bill, but in comments TRP writes:

Labour voted against the Bill at the second reading and proposed amendments which were voted down in the house. One of Labour’s proposed changes was supported by ACT, another by NZ First. The Greens went with National in voting down the amendments.

ACT is not the only party “standing up for free speech”. Indeed, it’s not even clear that “free speech” has anything to do with ACT’s position and David Seymour did not use the phrase in his speeches on his own amendment. However, in their speeches supporting the ACT amendment, Labour did specifically talk about the affect on free speech.

The headline is fundamentally incorrect. Labour voted in favour of the ACT amendment. They were the only party to do so, other than ACT. But, like all other parties but ACT, they also supported the other changes that were made to the Bill at select committee, which improved some aspects of the original bill. ACT actually voted against the improvements.

Hopefully the bill will be further amended before it’s third reading. I know Labour have not given up trying to soften the potentially negative impacts on free speech, but they, like all MP’s except David Seymour, also recognise that cyber bullying will be finally recognised as the scourge it is and appropriately criminalised.

76 comments on “Only ACT standing up for free speech? ”

  1. Clean_power 1

    Well done ACT, and shame on the rest of political parties.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Ironic headline, given David Seymour tweeted this yesterday:

    Greenpeace show their arrogance and conceit, breaking into parliament to promote solar panels.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/69688541/climate-change-protest-on-parliaments-roof-a-serious-risk

    • Skinny 2.1

      If this is your point well No ACT see Labour as a natural partner not the Greens. Told to me by one of their senior men within the party a few months ago. Must long for the Douglas days, I laughed and said ya kidding me, he was serious so there ya go.

    • Gosman 2.2

      I believe his point was that breaching security at Parliament will cause even more security checks and make it harder for ordinary people to visit. Do you disagree that the protest will cause more security processes?

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        “Do you disagree that the protest will cause more security processes?”

        Yes.

        Because they didn’t “break into Parliament”.

        • Gosman 2.2.1.1

          There is already a review of security being carried out. Usually this sort of thing leads to increased security procedures.

          • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1.1

            So you’re saying the existing review may lead to increased security procedures.

            They protested at Parliament, just like many other protests that have been carried out at Parliament over the years, including by sitting MPs.

            Unless they’re planning to put guards on the entry to the grounds, then it doesn’t seem like there is all that much that they can do, or indeed would impact on the every-day genuine visitor to Parliament, whom you seem to be so concerned about.

            That they climbed up scaffolding just means the scaffolding itself needs to be better secured; again this will not impact on the every-day genuine visitor to Parliament.

            • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.1.1.1.1

              citizens should be permitted to protest on Parliament Grounds unhindered.

              • Tracey

                as they were with a big dumb tractor once… a clear trespass if ever there were one.

          • McFlock 2.2.1.1.2

            It’s not like they installed anti-tractor devices after the farmers did a similar thing. Arguably the greenpeace protest was done with more attention to safety and preventing damage than Shane Ardern’s impulse control failure.

      • Skinny 2.2.2

        Oh right sorry I’m multi tasking and not a woman so not much chop at it (one for Ms Rodgers).

        No I like the freedom to come and go as I please, bit of a hassle unloading everything into the tray and X-rayed etc, they wave ya through if ya come and go after the initial check. I guess I don’t look sketchy ‘must be the smile.’

        I don’t believe the will do too much, maybe laser shot security around the parameter of the parliament. When the TTPA come through they will import some armoured attack robots and a couple of cyborg killer droids with thinking capacity not to kill our MP’s representing us, anyone else is fair game in a future breach.

        [Skinny, your first line is irrelevant to the discussion and looks like a deliberate pop at an author. Pull your head in, Ok? TRP]

        • Skinny 2.2.2.1

          It was a complimentary actually coobah I’m the first to accept this as fact. Anyway I get ya point a crisp millitary salute to that.

      • Paul Campbell 2.2.3

        That’s a silly and disengenuous argument – at the moment bits of parliament are covered in scaffolding that the GP people climbed – the only extra security processes that are realistic here would be a security guard keepinan eye on the scaffolding – it’s only going to make it harder for ordinary people to visit parliament if they go there to climb the scaffolding

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    I’m a Green Party supporter and totally agree. This is nothing more or less than a Trojan horse to be used to shut down online comment on the pretext that it has hurt someone’s feelings. The only people who will be using it will be the police, and people and organisations with a lot of money.

    One interesting aspect that no one seems to be thinking about is that news stories that are okay in print media, say the DomPost or Herald, once on line will become subject to this law.

    • Sable 3.1

      And have the lawyers and money to defend against challenges that most blogs and the like do not…..

    • Jones 3.2

      I agree. I don’t understand why they would be supporting this bill in its current form and if they do, I will struggle to give them my vote again.

    • Tracey 3.3

      I concur (as a Green Party voter and supporter). The biggest irony is that this Bill was sponsored and pushed by one of the worst known bullies in public service, Judith Collins.

  4. Sable 4

    What they fail to understand is discontent doesn’t go away and will find other forms of expression. This is really creeping Fascism at its very worst. If in fact the Greens are supporting this I will not be voting for them next election.

  5. vto 5

    ha ha, what do people expect when they waste their lives on all of this pointless communication revolution. It achieves little. Some of us were laughing this morning how we have ten times more communication today over a job but the job still takes the same amount of time. Net result = all this communication doesn’t help. In fact it hinders.

    10 times more communication today for little to no result. Good one.

    Exactly like the myth of eftpos efficiency over cash

    • Sable 5.1

      Then bugger off and read the newspaper if its so wonderful…

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1

        vto’d point is that advanced communications technology is often a hindrance not a help. It’s a fair point and needs to be acknowledged as such.

  6. Sable 6

    This might be timely under the circumstances. Seems little Iceland has more common sense then we do:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/22/1392812/-No-joke-Iceland-s-Pirate-Party-surges-into-first-place-in-the-polls?detail=email

    • Save NZ 6.1

      @ Sable Very Interesting article.

      Maybe Internet party was ahead of it’s time.

      • Sable 6.1.1

        The Internet party actually polled well for a first time party. It was bashed by the MSM and the Nats, making it look like a failure. Statistically it was not when compared to other small parties on their first political outing.

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1

          This is exactly what so many forget. If Hone had garnered about 700-800 more votes both Mana and the Internet Party would have an MP each in Parliament right now.

          The status quo establishment is very pleased that they do not.

  7. Save NZ 7

    Does this mean everytime someone calls John Key a Lying Cheat on The Standard, an aid can request the Standard removes the post?

    Def censorship.

    They could just make it more age appropriate for example amend the bill so that it applies to minors only so it only affects bullying of minors rather than freedom of speech.

    • Gosman 7.1

      The trouble with that is most cyber bullying of minors is carried out by other minors I suspect. Hence you have a situation where you mainly criminalise minors. There surely has to be a better way of dealing with minors than threatening them with criminal convictions over this topic.

    • lprent 7.2

      So will the Facebooks, news media and blogs of this world stick to existing processes and risk criminal conviction? Or will they take the easy road and just pull things offline?

      Does this mean everytime someone calls John Key a Lying Cheat on The Standard, an aid can request the Standard removes the post?

      I am the webhost for The Standard.

      John Key or anyone else could ask for me to look at something for them. I wouldn’t accept a complaint on behalf of someone else from an aide or a lawyer or anyone else. That is the current system for this site.

      It is very fast and effective as I usually make a decision in minutes based on our policy. In practice, by the time that someone makes a complaint, whatever is being complained about has usually already been fixed by a moderator.

      But I’m unlikely to comply with requests unless people point to specific items (more than half of complainants do not), and I think that it actually violates the law or good net practice (most complainants do not). For adults that is not at the standard of someone’s feelings getting hurt. That is no apparent basis at all. FFS: people can get horribly offended by bad punctuation.

      If I (or other moderators) think that it violates our policies or specific laws, then we act abruptly. We usually intend to hurt the feelings of the arseholes who waste our time by writing stuff in violation of our rules. It discourages them from doing it again.

      But I won’t accept mediation of this site from “approved agencies” without approving of their competence myself. That is because as far as I can see the bill proposes that people who are neither legally or net competent are to select “approved agencies”. They are not intending to do it on a basis of proven competence both legally and in the net.

      I’d happily test the people at such agencies myself. After all I have been around the next for nearly 4 decades now. I suspect that I am moderately competent at identifying many of the realworld examples that they need to be competent to cover. However I suspect that I would hurt their feelings – especially after I publish my findings.

      In other words I don’t think that the “approved agencies” are likely to be competent enough to be worth talking to. Certainly from what I have observed with groups like NetSafe, OMSA and the Press Council (and I haven’t had any direct dealings with any of them), none of them appear to be competent at defining clear standards between adults on the net.

      We seldom get kids on this site which is all the NetSafe seem to be concerned with. OSMA and the Press Council appear to be industry bodies more concerned with protecting their members than actually being effective at constraining the arseholes of the net world. They all appear to be just too damn slow.

      I’m not planning on dealing with bodies of either of these two types unless they can convince me that they are worth my effort in engaging with them. To do that, they need to display much clearer guidelines that show their legal and operational frameworks, and provide quality assurance about the speed of operation. I can’t see why any dispute couldn’t be resolved or not resolved in any more than 2 days.

      Basically to me they look like they are being set up as agencies to intimidate the types of rights towards free expression that are in the Bill of Rights Act.

      So going straight to the courts without wasting time seems like the optimal course.

      Since that is exactly what we have now, this bill seems like a complete waste of time to me.

  8. Labour voted against the Bill at the second reading and proposed amendments which were voted down in the house. One of Labour’s proposed changes was supported by ACT, another by NZ First. The Greens went with National in voting down the amendments.

    ACT is not the only party “standing up for free speech”. Indeed, it’s not even clear that “free speech” has anything to do with ACT’s position and David Seymour did not use the phrase in his speeches on his own amendment. However, in their speeches supporting the ACT amendment, Labour did specifically talk about the affect on free speech.

    The headline is fundamentally incorrect. Labour voted in favour of the ACT amendment. They were the only party to do so, other than ACT. But, like all other parties but ACT, they also supported the other changes that were made to the Bill at select committee, which improved some aspects of the original bill. ACT actually voted against the improvements.

    Hopefully the bill will be further amended before it’s third reading. I know Labour have not given up trying to soften the potentially negative impacts on free speech, but they, like all MP’s except David Seymour, also recognise that cyber bullying will be finally recognised as the scourge it is and appropriately criminalised.

    • Anne 8.1

      My problem te reo putake is that Labour ( and other Oppo parties) don’t have a very good track record when it comes to robustly opposing draconian aspects of govt. legislation. Instead they sometimes appear to acquiesce without putting up a real fight. What is going to happen if, by the time of the third reading, the govt. has refused to sufficiently amend the offensive clauses to an acceptable level? Will Labour and the Greens withdraw their support and, together with ACT and NZF, prevent the bill from passing? I’m not 100% sure they will.

      If I choose to describe John Key on this site as a bumptious, bullying sociopathic schoolboy with a masochistic and puerile penchant for hair pulling – all of which is true – will I be committing a criminal act in the eyes of the law?

      • To answer your question, Anne, no, that will not be an offence. There is nothing in this bill that specifically removes current free speech defences and politicians and other public figures still need to have thick skins. However, repeated personal attacks that are intended to cause harm, could be seen as criminal. No doubt there will be test cases that set the standard, but I’m reasonably confident that the judiciary aren’t going to overturn centuries of previous decisions just based on the vague wording of this bill. They will look to the intent of the bill as well, which has been repeatedly expressed in Parliament as being about protecting ordinary citizens.

        This is how it should work; as a back up, if needed: http://www.theage.com.au/national/man-shamed-for-trolling-clementine-ford-apologises-for-online-attack-20150625-ghxz24.html

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1

          You can’t trust future sets of authorities to act with good judgement and discretion once they are handed additional powers to criminalise online expression.

          but I’m reasonably confident that the judiciary aren’t going to overturn centuries of previous decisions just based on the vague wording of this bill.

          Labour should not be voting for badly written legislation.

          • te reo putake 8.1.1.1.1

            Two separate issues, CV. The ‘authorities’ and the judiciary are not the same thing. As I said, the judiciary will rule on intent and precedent. That doesn’t mean that the weak prosecutions won’t be bought under this Act (and private citizens can also do that), but it still requires a judge to make a decision on the facts. Our judiciary is independent and has a proven history of not endorsing poor law. So, I’m not too worried, at this point.

            The bill will do some real good in an area that really, really needs it. Our kids need protection online. All the parties, except ACT, apparently, are agreed on that.

            • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry mate, please explain how a “vaguely worded” bill is going to provide much needed protection if the judiciary is going to find it hard to work with this law???

              Is criminalising kids and having them stand in the dock really our society’s best approach to cyber-bullying?

              • The bill is, for the most part, pretty clear. But there are some poor parts in it, hence this post and hence Labour’s opposition to the bill and its support for the amendments. If the wording is unclear in an Act, the judiciary look at the intent of the law and precedent. That system works pretty well.

                And, yep, putting bullies in the dock is a reasonable thing. If people of any age intend to hurt and harm and repeatedly do so, then having to account for themselves is entirely appropriate.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  And, yep, putting bullies in the dock is a reasonable thing. If people of any age intend to hurt and harm and repeatedly do so, then having to account for themselves is entirely appropriate.

                  Putting young online bullies into the criminal justice system is not going to make them into better kinder people; it is going to make them harder tougher real life bullies.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Then the criminal justice system needs an overhaul.

                  • Tracey

                    which is why this government puled funding of self defence for high school girls which was shown to increase self confidence and reporting of abuse by those who went through it, why anti bullying programmes rely on donors rather than 100% taxpayer funding…

                    Cyer bullying and face to face bullying… programmes in school AND workplaces, state funded. Why? Becuase EVERYONE benefits.

                    Bullying manifests in loads of different says that spill over into Health budgets and productivity and so on.

                    WORKSAFE should include such programmes, even if just for bosses/business owners in the first round

          • Skinny 8.1.1.1.2

            +1 If they had half a brain they would have kicked up opposing an attack on our freedom of speech. Public opinion was strongly against the spy legislation Bill, similarly they would oppose this Bill because of it’s broadness. Far easier to attack ill thought through scruffy legislation that you can drive a bus through. But no they do the opposite.

            • te reo putake 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Labour did vote against it, skinny, and got the Government to amend it as well. Labour were the only party talking about free speech when it was reported back the other day and they are still trying to modify the weak wording.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                So, Labour will vote against this legislation right up to the second they help pass it.

                • Mate, you’re being a tad foolish. Labour has opposed the legislation, voted against it, argued successfully for changes and has worked to make it do what it is actually intended to do. They are continuing to work to get the bill modified. The Greens, not so much. But then you don’t hate the Greens, do you? Nope it’s all self loathing and verbal flagellation from the Andersons Bay Bubble Boy.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Labour wants to support a new route for young people to enter the criminal justice system? Great, some types will be all for it.

                    • Oh do fuck off. The behaviour is already criminal. It leads to deaths in some cases and just misery and self loathing in others. If you have an alternative do say so ….

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Yep, because pushing more young people into the criminal justice system is going to help outcomes for young people.

                    • So you’ve got no alternative? Thought so.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      So you’ve got no alternative? Thought so.

                      LOL. Answer the fucking question, if you can. Is criminalising young people and funneling more youths into the criminal justice system, going to help them become better adults.

                    • I already answered that question. http://thestandard.org.nz/only-act-standing-up-for-free-speech/#comment-1034999

                      Now, what alternatives are there? Go on, surprise us!

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The alternative is for well paid adults to stop pushing kids into the criminal justice system, just bevcause the well-paid adults want to look like they are “doing something” even if it is the wrong thing.

                    • Thanks, but what’s the alternative solution to cyber bullying?

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Answer the fucking question, if you can”

                      Hi CR – since you’re on the topic of demanding people answer questions I posted some questions to you the other day on an open mike thread. You know where and what I asked. I don’t want to derail this thread so I won’t comment further here but I would really appreciate your response.

                    • Don’t hold yer breath, TC. CV’s not big on providing actual answers; that’s not how trolling works.

              • Skinny

                Ok i get that, however I take a simple view let them push this crap legislation through in it’s scruffy form and make them pay for it. Let the straw that broke the camels back happen, meaning for voters let this legislation add to the others they don’t like, enough so that they flip.

        • lprent 8.1.1.2

          I’m more concerned with the pissant agencies that they are planning on setting up.

          So far we have one that appears to dither, not have any coherent standards, and does not deal with anything in a timely fashion – NetSafe.

          We have several others OSMA and the Press Council that seem to be designed to not do anything in a timely manner, are prone to doing ineffectual wrist slaps for their members benefit, and who demand that people complaining to them give up their rights to take legal action against their members. Not to mention that the latter two cost about two months of our server costs to be members. A very steep cost for a protection racket industry body.

          I can’t see any point with anything like those. So where are out dumbarse legislators planning on getting these mythic agencies from. How are they planning on getting people competent to stuff them?

          • te reo putake 8.1.1.2.1

            Good point, LP. The agencies don’t seem well thought out and leading them sounds like a nice little earner for ‘friends of John’. I wonder if the PM knows anyone involved in social media that he could appoint to run them? Perhaps Curia could run a poll on likely candidates?

          • adam 8.1.1.2.2

            I’m glad I was not the only one thinking – why do we need more officious officials in this country. National have a very bad track record setting up and running new departments.

            This is a stupid law written by stupid people, which won’t stop what it was designed to.

            How about we save some money and get this organisation to teach their programme in all the schools.

            http://www.peace.net.nz/content/school-programmes-0

            For the fiscally conservatives, what this will cost – a few million a year and save the tax pay in the long term.

          • Skinny 8.1.1.2.3

            Do you mean like the Law Society and the ability to be struck off?

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2.4

            So where are out dumbarse legislators planning on getting these mythic agencies from. How are they planning on getting people competent to stuff them?

            Oh, I’m sure that Nationals’ cronies can set them up pretty quickly and make a bomb out of them.

            As for competent people? Well, they’re Nationals’ cronies so they’re competent by default – right. Right? 😈

            • lprent 8.1.1.2.4.1

              Yeah. Competent at being quite stupid. You just know whoever takes on this task is going to overstep…

          • Tracey 8.1.1.2.5

            Like or hate them, lawyers and Judges(in particular) are trained to evaluate stuff critically, without jaundice and without favour. This government wants to take away jurisdiction for ACC appeals from Judges and into a tribunal, giving greater power to bureaucrats and delaying tactics. OSMA, Press Council etc are a similar problem because there is self interest of the profession, first and foremost and patch protection second. The Law Society is a great example. I know of investigations into those least deserving due to certain lawyers and their powerful client wanting to make life difficult for a lawyer or their client (as part of a strategy) while other, deserving of ethical scrutiny escape it.

            • lprent 8.1.1.2.5.1

              That is my view as well. But there are three things wrong with legal approaches.

              1. The time taken for anything to happen
              2. The costs.
              3. The age and inclinations of lawyers and judges meaning that they aren’t used to operations on networks.

              I have no real solution for this.

              My draconian preference would be for the police to have a few tech-heads who operators can respect (ie have some credibility for running social media systems), backed with the ability to arrest and charge operators for gross breaches if they don’t cooperate, and to shut their operations down. In other words, an immediate judge, jury and executioner. Then their targets can wait for court for the equivalent of a conspiracy to publish. However this would reek of sedition and blasphemy laws, and we all know how those were abused for political ends.

              • Tracey

                I think the ability to critically assess both material and people is important and something that court lawyers and judges learn (and are trained). While they may lack specific knowledge of the topic before them, they can learn and they are outside the hive mind of that industry.

                The Sport Dispute Tribunal has a good model. It has a lawyer/retired judge on each panel of 3 people, and people with admin, playing, coaching or other sport background on the panel. The judge can then direct the others in terms of evidence and process and evaluation/assessment of witnesses.

                My experience of the Weathertight Tribunal is that the Adjudicators too often kowtow to Council’s lawyers… when setting timetables they will frequently say things like

                “I assume with Councils workload that date won’t be possible”… so of course Council’s lawyers says “that date doesn’t work for council”. One of a string of delay tactics that the Council gets waya with and is symptomatic of many so-called “specialist” tribunals.

                • lprent

                  Lawyers are fine for what they can do. However they are so damn slow.

                  But what they are unlikely to cope with is the sheer speed that the net can shift. Not dealing things in a timely manner is likely to cause some pretty strange distortions in the way that the local net flows.

                  You’d have seen some of the very very fast ways that the net can shift. It gets quite a lot faster when there slow and daft impediments.

            • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.2.5.2

              I’ll leave it to The Simpsons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2VxpTMAbas

  9. RedLogix 9

    Of course Labour and the Greens are supporting this because ‘cyber-bullying’ is a very real concern for huge numbers of parents. Opposing this would set them up for the Tories to smear them as weak on the issue.

    While the number of New Zealanders who actually care about the right to express an honestly held opinion is far smaller minority.

    The cynical bastard in me would suggest Labour attack this Bill as not going far enough. Why not protection from ‘serious emotional harm’ in the media? Why not extend it to anything said by anyone in a public domain?

    Require the legislation to simply shut down any blog, chat-room or social media service that is found to have ever hosted anything that someone does not like. That would be much more efficient than bogging the Courts down with case by case offenses. Everyone knows the net is a cesspit of freely expressed opinion anyhow.

    Why not have recording devices attached to everyone, so as anything said by anyone, anytime – can be computer analysed and vetted for potential ‘harm’? That might be considered a little extreme, but the technology to achieve it is within our reach.

    New Zealand would be a ‘much politer society’ and a safer place if saying or doing anything that another person found ‘offensive’ could result in a criminal conviction, a fine or prison. We could once again take the lead in massive social reform – and show the Aussies up for the wimpish slackers they are. Tony Abbott is only just talking about gagging irresponsible tv content he doesn’t like. NZ could actually walk the talk – so to speak.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Of course Labour and the Greens are supporting this because ‘cyber-bullying’ is a very real concern for huge numbers of parents. Opposing this would set them up for the Tories to smear them as weak on the issue.

      Yep I noted yesterday that this had all the hallmarks of Thorndon Bubble risk management, as opposed to doing anything worthwhile.

      Talk about stupid, ineffective uses for legislation.

    • Tracey 9.2

      Yes, like National did with seabed and foreshore. SO many forget that National only voted against SF because they didn’t think Labour was taking it far enough, not cos of some benevolence toward maori customary rights.

  10. Buzz 11

    Hi Anthony

    Did you teach at Tokoroa High School many years ago? If so I would be keen to say hi.

    Regards
    Kevin

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