A guest post from a reader:
The Prime Minister should reflect very carefully on her big policy losses of Three Strikes and Capital Gains Tax, courtesy of Winston Peters and NZ First – and thanks to them on both. They understood the NZ psyche and political implications on these two important policy issues.
The next test will be even more important – both for New Zealanders and for the Prime Minister. Will she pull Justice Minister Andrew Little in line and tell him to drop any attempt to limit freedom of speech/introduce a hate speech law?
Any attempt in this area is destined to fail, even more so than they did with Three Strikes and CGT. The Christchurch Mosque massacre raises important questions in a range of areas that need to be addressed. But using it as a trojan horse to limit free speech through the power of Government will be met with a massive public backlash.
The public debate would also prove divisive, both racially and religiously. That would be very unfortunate when New Zealanders have overwhelmingly banded together and unified to grieve with and support our Muslim friends. We all empathise with them and reject the vile, hate-filled extremist who committed the mass murder. But that does not translate into supporting the curtailing of our ability, and rights, to express our views, our thoughts, our genuinely held opinions. It would be the worst judgment call of any Government to attempt to do that.
Will Jacinda Ardern read the tea-leaves on this one? Or will Winston and the NZ First caucus read them to her, for a third time?
This will be an interesting space to watch. To be fair to the PM, she has not jumped onto the we must change the law bandwagon. But her Justice Minister and the Greens seem very keen.
As much as I would like to see them try and fail (as they did with three strikes and CGT), I’d rather they didn’t try at all.