13 Feb 2018

Disparaging cartoons of Polynesians 'not illegal' - High Court

From Morning Report, 8:54 am on 13 February 2018

The Labour MP Louisa Wall has failed to have cartoons depicting Polynesian families in a disparaging light declared illegal. She took the case to the High Court after also failing before the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

The cartoons, by Al Nisbett, were published in some Fairfax newspapers in 2013. The High Court says the depiction of Māori and Pasifika parents as lazy, neglectful, gluttonous, smokers and drinkers was undoubtedly insulting but that did not necessarily mean they were illegal.

Professor Ursula Cheer is the dean of the University of Canterbury law school. She tells Guyon Espiner she agrees with the High Court ruling in its testing of hate speech. She says in cases like this, people should speak out. "The idea is that more speech is better than no speech," she says.