15 Jun 2019

ACT Party members' bill would repeal parts of Human Rights Act

1:34 pm on 15 June 2019

The Act Party has announced a new members bill that would repeal parts of the Human Rights Act.

David Seymour addresses media following the release of the justice committee's report on the End of Life Choice Bill

Act Party leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Leader David Seymour said the government was planning to restrict speech laws, and his party's new Freedom to Speak Bill would repeal parts of the Act and the Summary Offences Act which makes insulting and offensive speech unlawful.

Mr Seymour said the Human Rights Commission had failed to defend the country's most "basic right", and he wanted it to be abolished.

Speaking on TV3's Newshub Nation today, Mr Seymour said while it should be a crime to incite or threaten violence, no one should be punished for insulting speech.

"What's more important is that we don't go down a path that the UK has been down where people can have the police come around to their door and potentially arrest them - and have actually detained people just for sending a tweet."

Mr Seymour said that was something that needed to be avoided.

He planned to relaunch his political party tomorrow, however he said the name of the party would stay the same.

"After twenty years of investing in it - we thought we'd keep it."

Mr Seymour said there would be a place for the Act Party and its redefined policies at the 2020 election.

The government has fast-tracked a review of hate speech laws in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks, saying there were currently gaps in the laws.

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