Proposals against incitement of hatred and discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand

Public consultation: Proposals against incitement of hatred and discrimination(external link)

Social cohesion in Aotearoa New Zealand is about being a place where everyone feels they belong

An important part of achieving social cohesion is to stand against conduct and language that harms people. We are stronger because of our diversity. Experiences of hatred can make people feel unsafe and unwelcome in the places they should feel at home.

We want to hear what you think of six Government proposals to make Aotearoa New Zealand safer for everyone, by strengthening the parts of existing law that protect groups from speech that incites hatred, and by improving protections against discrimination. The incitement of hatred against a group based on a shared characteristic, such as ethnicity, religion or sexuality, is an attack on our values of inclusiveness and diversity.  Such incitement is intolerable and has no place in our society.

The Government wants to know if the public think the current laws should change and whether other issues should be included in them. 

Your feedback will be used to inform advice to Ministers about whether and how to change the law to meet society’s expectations. There is a Discussion Document to help you to present your feedback.

Six proposals

The proposals aim to:

  • Increase the number of groups of people that are protected by the incitement provisions, such as religious groups and rainbow communities
  • Make it clearer what behaviour the law prohibits and increase the consequences for breaking the law
  • Improve the protections for groups against wider discrimination.

The six proposals that we would like to hear your views on relate to:

  1. Changing the language in the incitement provisions in the Human Rights Act 1993 so that they protect more groups that are targeted by hateful speech
  2. Replacing the existing criminal provision in the Human Rights Act 1993 with a new criminal offence in the Crimes Act 1961 that is clearer and more effective
  3. Increasing the punishment for the criminal offence to better reflect its seriousness
  4. Changing the language of the civil incitement provision to match the changes being made to the criminal provision
  5. Changing the civil provision so that it makes ‘incitement to discriminate’ against the law
  6. Adding to the grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act to clarify that trans, gender diverse and intersex people are protected from discrimination.

Protecting freedom of expression

Seeking the right balance between protecting our right to freedom of expression, ensuring everyone’s rights and interests are protected, and every person can express themselves without fear, is important for all New Zealanders. 

This engagement is part of a wider programme of work on social cohesion the government is undertaking and takes into account the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain (mosques) in 2019. To find out more, see social cohesion below.

Providing your feedback

Your feedback will help to inform decisions on whether and how to update our laws. 

You can have your say by reviewing the Discussion Document and answering the specific questions relating to the six proposals.

Discussion Document: Proposals against incitement of hatred and discrimination [PDF, 408 KB]

Submissions are open from 25 June to 6 August 2021.  You can submit:

Please note that your feedback may be subject to a request to the Ministry of Justice for information under the Official Information Act 1982. Personal details can be withheld under the Act, including your name and address. If you do not want any information you provide to be released, please indicate this clearly and explain why. For example, you may wish for some information to be kept confidential because it is sensitive personal information. The Ministry of Justice will take your views into account when responding to such requests.

The Privacy Act 2020 governs how the Ministry collects, holds, uses, and discloses personal information about you and the information you provide. You have the right to access and correct personal information.

The Ministry will proactively release a summary of submissions. The summary will not include information that could identify individuals.

Further information

You can find out more from the Discussion Document.  The Discussion Document is translated into 17 written languages, and the Summary Document is translated into 25 written languages and accessible formats, including New Zealand Sign Language (available from early July 2021).

The Cabinet Paper can be accessed here:

Proactive release – Proposed changes to the incitement provisions in the Human Rights Act 1993 [PDF, 2.8 MB]

Proactive release – Incitement of Hatred and discrimination: Release of Discussion Document [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Interim Impact Summary:

Public discussion document - Proposed changes to the incitement provisions in the Human Rights Act 1993 [PDF, 3.8 MB]

For an accessible version of this document, please contact humanrights@justice.govt.nz.

Discussion Document

Read the Discussion Document – English [PDF, 408 KB]

Read the Discussion Document – Te Rēo Māori [PDF, 339 KB]

Read the Discussion Document – Large Print [PDF, 458 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Accessible [DOCX, 206 KB]

Listen to an audio version of the Discussion Document [MP3, 12 MB]

Video playlist of the Discussion Document with New Zealand Sign Language(external link)

Braille version of the Discussion Document is available upon request. Please email humanrights@justice.govt.nz for a braille copy.

Easy Read version of the Discussion Document [DOCX, 9.6 MB]

Easy Read version of the Discussion Document [PDF, 2.9 MB]

About Easy Read

Easy Read information uses words and pictures to present information in a way that is easier to understand. 

Easy Read information has been developed to support people with learning disabilities better understand written information.

People who find Easy Read information useful include some people who: 

  • have a learning disability 
  • have low literacy levels 
  • use English as a second language 
  • are elderly 
  • are deaf.

This is an Easy Read translation of the discussion document. It covers some of the main issues in the discussion document, but not all of them.

Summary Document

Read the Summary Document - English [PDF, 328 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Te Rēo Māori [PDF, 284 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Large Print [PDF, 334 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Accessible [DOCX, 181 KB]

Listen to an audio version of the Summary Document [MP3, 5 MB]

Braille version of the Summary Document is available upon request. Please email humanrights@justice.govt.nz for a braille copy.

Discussion Document translated into other languages

Read the Discussion Document - Arabic [PDF, 497 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Bahasa (Indonesian) [PDF, 325 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Bahasa (Malaysian) [PDF, 351 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Bengali [PDF, 472 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Chinese (Simplified) [PDF, 413 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Chinese (Traditional) [PDF, 536 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Dari [PDF, 500 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Hindi [PDF, 414 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Korean [PDF, 587 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Pashto [PDF, 468 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Farsi [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Read the Discussion Document - Samoan [PDF, 352 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Somali [PDF, 351 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Tongan [PDF, 370 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Turkish [PDF, 388 KB]

Read the Discussion Document - Urdu [PDF, 653 KB]

Summary Document translated into other languages

Read the Summary Document - Arabic [PDF, 311 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Bahasa (Indonesian) [PDF, 264 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Bahasa (Malaysian) [PDF, 227 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Bengali [PDF, 354 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Chinese (Simplified) [PDF, 390 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Chinese (Traditional) [PDF, 581 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Cook Island Māori [PDF, 272 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Dari [PDF, 349 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Farsi [PDF, 778 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Fijian [PDF, 233 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Gujarati [PDF, 356 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Hindi [PDF, 357 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Japanese [PDF, 412 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Korean [PDF, 421 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Niuean [PDF, 260 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Pashto [PDF, 335 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Samoan [PDF, 283 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Somali [PDF, 282 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Tagalog [PDF, 267 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Tokelauan [PDF, 298 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Tongan [PDF, 305 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Turkish [PDF, 315 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Tuvaluan [PDF, 223 KB]

Read the Summary Document - Urdu [PDF, 453 KB]

More about social cohesion

The context for creating a socially cohesive and inclusive society in Aotearoa New Zealand is unique. It’s underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Māori-Crown relationship; this provides a strong foundation for building social cohesion.

Our diversity extends across ethnicity, culture, gender identities and expressions, religion, values and beliefs, ages, disabilities, sexual orientation, and the structure of our families.

Diversity makes our community stronger and increases the potential for social and economic benefits.  For those benefits to be realised, everyone who calls Aotearoa New Zealand home must feel safe, that they belong, have fair opportunities, and are able to participate in all aspects of life.

There is more the Government is doing to build and foster social cohesion in Aotearoa New Zealand:

The Ministry of Social Development is offering an opportunity for the public to say what you think about social cohesion – from how we should define and measure it, to how it can be upheld and supported in law to make our diverse communities safer and feel like they genuinely belong.  For more information, go to: 

social-cohesion.citizenspace.com(external link)