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.
On 25 June 2021, the Government asked the public if they think the current laws around incitement and discrimination should change and whether other issues should be included in them. We issued a discussion document setting out six proposals to strengthen the law against incitement of hatred and discrimination and invited the public to have their say.
That public consultation through the submissions process closed on 6 August 2021. It attracted more than 19,000 submissions. To further broaden public feedback, we also engaged directly with a wide range of community groups by holding 30 meetings with 290 people across Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and online.
All the feedback will be used to inform advice to Ministers about whether and how to change the law to meet society’s expectations.
The Ministry will release a summary of submissions on our website after Cabinet has considered them.
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.
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. The Social Cohesion Survey closes on 10 September 2021. For more information, go to: