Hate speech debate Wed Nov 17

Live Wednesday 17th at 8pm

A recent Royal Commission into the 2019 Christchurch Massacre led to some recommendations to change some of New Zealand’s current hate speech laws. Elephant TV is hosting a debate on whether hate speech laws are necessary at all and how those proposed changes may affect New Zealand.

Joining the debate from the New Zealand Human Rights Commission is Chief Commissioner, Paul Hunt who is taking the ‘pro’ side and op-ed columnist for Redline and veteran left-wing activist, Daphna Whitmore taking the ‘con’.

Click here to watch


  1. Well argued Daphna.
    As people can see from the video, this debate was often between concrete argument and vague abstraction. Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt chose to conclude his case with the quote “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Describing this old saying as “playground bravado”, Hunt went on to say that of course words hurt and that some ( unnamed) individuals and groups had told him that words had hurt them very much.
    I was taken aback at the commissioner’s choice of quotation, to me, it’s an argument for freedom of speech. Yes, like many other things in life on earth, words can hurt. Everyday, all across the world, in homes, workplaces, social situations and chance encounters, we humans say things which distress one another. Some angry accusations are justified, some are not, they carry the power to hurt nonetheless. I can remember being hurt this way many times over the course of my life. If these occasions hadn’t happened, my life would have been a lesser thing than it has been. Hurtful remarks are not enjoyable to receive but their sting has the capacity to make us focus and reflect. Am I really lazy and unreliable? Was it remiss of me to forget that meeting? Do I in fact drink too much? Are my guitar solos just a bunch of tired cliches?
    We are able to act on hurtful remarks. If they seem to contain a truth, they can spur us into changing our behaviour for the better. If repeated hurtful remarks seem unfair, we might consider seeking alternative company. Because words are not able to break our bones, we’re able to use them as a warning or a spur to action. Such warnings and spurs to attention are helpful in a world where severe physical hurt can be around any corner and in most areas of the globe is a hideous fact of daily existence.

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