Monday 19 July 2021

Free Speech vs Hate Speech – By Numbers.

We Can Stop Guessing: New Zealand owes the newly-formed Free Speech Union (FSU) a debt of gratitude for commissioning Curia Research to find out exactly where the country stands on the Government’s Hate Speech proposals. 

JACINDA ARDERN faces a considerably less daunting task in selling her Hate Speech laws than many of her opponents anticipated. Yes, a clear plurality of New Zealanders either strongly or somewhat oppose the Government’s proposals – 43 percent in total. But, the number of eligible voters who somewhat or strongly support the proposed measures, at 31 percent, represents an extremely solid minority. With 15 percent of voters currently taking a “neutral” stance, the Prime Minister still has everything to play for.

New Zealand owes the newly-formed Free Speech Union (FSU) a debt of gratitude for commissioning Curia Research to find out exactly where the country stands on the Government’s Hate Speech proposals. Prior to this survey, carried out from Monday, 5 July to Thursday, 8 July 2021, those with an interest in this issue were relying upon the responses of 9,000 AM Show viewers, approximately 80 percent of whom declared themselves opposed to the PM’s proposals. While these numbers may have cheered the supporters of Free Speech, they were not reliable. Curia’s scientific poll of 1,000 randomly selected respondents, carefully weighted to reflect the overall voting adult population in terms of gender, age and area, offers a much more accurate snap-shot of public opinion on this issue.

Ardern will be encouraged to discover that 49 percent of those giving their Party Vote to Labour support her Hate Speech proposals, with only 17 percent registering their opposition. This net support figure of 34 percentage points is further bolstered by the Green Party’s net support figure of 55 percentage points. Support for outlawing Hate Speech is clearly emerging as an issue dear to the hearts of left-wing voters.

Significantly, the obverse is even more strongly indicated by right-wing voters. The net corresponding figure for National’s Party Vote shows opponents of the PM’s proposals are leading their supporters by a very solid 47 percentage points. Fully 63 percent of National’s backers are either strongly or somewhat opposed to outlawing Hate Speech. Only 16 percent are prepared to back the proposed measures. Predictably, the Act Party is as strongly opposed to the Hate Speech laws as the Green Party is supportive. 74 percent of Act voters are either strongly or somewhat opposed, with a paltry 9 percent in favour. Act voters’ opposition to the proposed Hate Speech laws outstrips their support by a whopping 65 percentage points!

The Hate Speech issue doesn’t just expose a yawning ideological gap between Left and Right, but a significant gender gap between women and men. Curia Research reveals support for the Prime Minister’s proposed law changes skews heavily in favour of women. 51 percent of men either strongly or somewhat oppose the legislation, compared to 34 percent of women. Women’s support for the measures stands at 35 percent, men’s at 24 percent. As Curia itself noted: “Women’s net support is +1% and men are –27% – a huge gender gap.”

Only in two parts of New Zealand does support for the proposed Hate Speech laws outstrip the opposition. Unsurprisingly, it is in Christchurch – the scene of the deadly mosque shootings – that Curia recorded the highest level of support. Cantabrians in favour of curbing Hate Speech are 13 percentage points ahead of those opposed. In Wellington, the most politicised of New Zealand’s major cities, the positive margin – 5 percentage points – is considerably narrower. In Auckland City, opponents outnumber supporters by 10 percentage points. In the provincial cities the negative margin is narrower, just 2 percentage points. Tellingly, respondents’ negativity soars in New Zealand’s small towns and rural communities, registering 26 percentage points and 32 percentage points respectively.

Only among New Zealanders under the age of 30 does the Curia survey throw up a clear preference for legislative action on Hate Speech. Voters over the age of 30 are not convinced of the need for the imposition of criminal sanctions. The negative margin is narrow for the 31-45 age-group, but it opens up spectacularly for those aged 46-60 years. In this age-group the opponents of Hate Speech laws outnumber supporters by 22 percentage points. This is higher than the negative margin of the over-60s, which Curia measured at just 14 percent.

These results will be of particular concern to the Labour Party and their Green allies. Middle-aged and elderly New Zealanders are by far the most reliable participants in the electoral process. If the FSU [of which it is only fair that I acknowledge my membership to the reader] is successful at turning the Hate Speech legislation into a defining issue of the 2023 General Election, then the votes of its staunchest opponents in the upper age-groups could prove decisive. All the more reason for Labour and the Greens to do everything within their power to mobilise the Youth Vote. Easy to say, of course, but notoriously difficult to do.

Could Labour be rescued on this issue by socio-economic factors? Curia’s results indicate that support for the proposed Hate Speech laws is highest among the wealthiest third of the population, where it stands at 33 percent. The next most supportive are the poorest third, at 30 percent. Least supportive are the middle third, with just 29 percent in favour – and 45 percent against – the Government’s Hate Speech proposals. Overall, however, negativity reigns across all socio-economic groups.

Once again, there is little in the way of good news for Labour and the Greens in these numbers. Socio-economic status and ethnicity in contemporary New Zealand tend to be very closely associated. With Maori, Pasifika and Immigrant communities among the poorest in the country, it might be supposed that support for Hate Speech legislation would have been at its highest. After all, it is people of colour and religious minorities who are the principal targets of Hate Speech. That 41 percent of the poorest third of New Zealanders are either somewhat or strongly opposed to the proposed law changes is surprising – to say the least.

It is important to note that across the Curia survey a pretty consistent figure of around 15 percent of respondents declared themselves to be neutral on the proposed Hate Speech laws. It is for the hearts and minds of these folk that the battle will be entered in earnest. Convince the ”Neutrals” of the need to take decisive action to curb and criminalise Hate Speech, and the Prime Minister will be as close to the magic 50 percent as makes no difference. No Government can afford to go out on a policy limb when 80 percent-plus of the electorate is ranged against it. With voters evenly divided on an issue, however, a Government can go for broke.

As things now stand, the Prime Minister can put considerable faith in a young, well-educated woman from the leafier suburbs of Christchurch or Wellington to cast her vote in favour of a Government committed to fighting Hate Speech. For Judith Collins and David Seymour, however, reliable support for freedom of expression can be expected from a white, male, middle-income earner, nearing retirement and living in a small country town.

Curia’s survey does not make it clear whether this free-speaker drives a double-cab ute, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

This essay was originally posted on the website of Monday, 19 July 2021.


Blake said...

We're doing every darn thing to fight racism, Chris!

David George said...

There does seem to be a lot of ignorance around the issue, perhaps (surveyed) folk are reacting somewhat instinctively, after all, whose in favour of hate. The debate, if you can call it that, in the MSM is not very helpful or informing either. There's plenty of UK cases of police arrests and persecution, calling round to your work or home to "check your thinking", for pretty innocuous speech. People are being arrested for saying women don't have penises, that sort of thing. I think Kiwis would be horrified to think we could go down that road here. We need to bring those stories out.

On Stuff there was (maybe still is, I don't go there) a columnist, Joel Maxwell, a belching sewer-pipe of hate, that used to write the most appalling racist bile, so I would have thought they'd be against criminalising that sort of thing. They're none too bright though, perhaps that's it.

John Hurley said...

This isn't looking so good. If journalists want funding they have to show that they "understand" Te tiriti principle; the treaty is in everything (eg) Ngai tahu had to be included in a story about the Alpine Fault.

If you read Paul Spoonley's Recalling Aotearoa you see the roadmap [Maori + everyone else].

this definition of hate speech:

Hate crime… involves acts of violence and intimidation, usually directed toward already stigmatized and marginalized groups. As such, it is a mechanism of power and oppression, intended to reaffirm the precarious hierarchies that characterise a given social order. It attempts to re-create simultaneously the threatened (real or imagined) hegemony of the perpetrator’s group and the ‘appropriate’ subordinate identity of the victim’s group. It is a means of marking both the Self and the Other in such a way as to reestablish their ‘proper’ relative positions, as given and reproduced by broader ideologies and patterns of social and political inequality.

It suggests a central planner saying "Maori move to the front; everyone else form a horizontal line behind".

Society has been under management since the 1980's. Landmarks was the last populist documentary. Since then

While it is impossible to locate a singular, conclusive function for TNZW [The NZ Wars], the audience research discussed in chapter eight suggests that this series has functioned to open up radical spaces for alternative ways of engaging with the past and new ways of imagining nation and community. These are spaces ‘in-between’ the dimensions of discursive and affective engagement, and it is within these spaces that affect can agitate thought, generate a reiteration of colonial narratives, and activate an impassioned resistance to colonial discourse.

Country Calendar gets by far the biggest viewership (600,000) but you can see how the narrative plays out.

I got banned from Newshub Facebook. Someone replied to a suggestion that Mathew Tukaki's rhetoric is inciteful with "coloniser says". I said "wank off with your "coloniser", cannibal". I doubt the other party got a ban.

What gets me is that they will pick on people like Lee Williams who know how to make a video but aren't clued up enough to be careful and they will make an example of them. As Brendon McNeil argues free speech used to mean letting the people here and decided - Labour is heavily into narrative control.

oneblokesview said...

Or was this poll (seen in the mind of the responders) seen as a poll of the PM's star status.
She saved us from 80,000 deaths remember. Won a majority in last MMP election. isnt she nice :-)

Sometimes polls, especially on opinions on ethereal subjects are not always reflective of the population at large. (how many responders had read the proposed bill, or read a balanced review of said proposed law).

Lindsay Mitchell said...

" is people of colour and religious minorities who are the principal targets of Hate Speech"

How do you know that when we don't even know what hate speech is yet?

Chris Morris said...

There is every possibility that both the Labour and Greens parties have totally abandoned the white (which includes Asians) middle class male demographic. Almost all of the comments, policies and actions so far indicate the Ministers see them as able to be demonised. It may well be that they are safe making this call, knowing they have the support of the woke, female, brown and young. But that is very shaky grounds on which to build as your electorate. Not much in common other than what they oppose.
Put inflation, unemployment and unaffordable houses into the individuals' vote decision-making and support will rapidly disappear. National currently seems unable to offer a coherent vision, but Governments are voted out, not Oppositions in.

John Hurley said...

I would say that the establishment in their mad rush to create ethnicless societies are guilty of hate speech.

When was the last time you heard Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley (Royal Society) talk like this?

swordfish said...

Although it's not of any real importance (given the insignificant difference in opinion between deciles) ... I think you've confused the results for the poorest & wealthiest thirds, Chris [Deciles 8-10 = the most deprived areas / Deciles 1-3 = most affluent areas ... easily done, the socio-economic decile schema, of course, being the opposite to the school decile schema].


Wealthy Decile 1-3:

Strongly Oppose 29%, Somewhat Oppose 12%, [Total Oppose 41%]
Strongly Support 14%, Somewhat Support 16%, [Total Support 30%]
[Net: Oppose by 11 points]
Neutral 15%, Unsure 14%, [N+U 29%]

Mid Decile 4-7:

Strongly Oppose 26%, Somewhat Oppose 19%, [Total Oppose 45%]
Strongly Support 15%, Somewhat Support 14%, [Total Support 29%]
[Net: Oppose by 16 points]
Neutral 15%, Unsure 11%, [N+U 26%]

Poor Decile 8-10:

Strongly Oppose 25%, Somewhat Oppose 15%, [Total Oppose 40%]
Strongly Support 19%, Somewhat Support 14%, [Total Support 33%]
[Net: Oppose by 7 points]
Neutral 17%, Unsure 10%, [N+U 27%]

Doug Longmire said...

The results of opinion polls will be skewed by the very blatant media suppression of any genuinely critical analysis or description of the actual impact of these draconian proposed hate speech laws. Taken to the logical extreme - the police could be arresting any person who makes a comment or statement that is "insulting" to a particular person or group. This is not being discussed or examines by the Pravda media, who are being paid to toe the line.

John Hurley said...

I have an old friend who I ring up. He is 80 plus and has asthma (and voted for Jacinda). Today I asked him about He puapua. He might have heard of it but wasn't sure.

He did say though that he might not vote for her again so he has garnered a bit.

At that level of understanding they really don't have a handle on what is going on.

I watched a talk between Jon Haidt and Helen Pluckrose today. Jon Haidt was explaining the things that he thinks lead to our current fragility. He said he was only two chapters into Helen Pluckrose book but that added another strand.

If National and Act become aware of Critical Theory (as they seem to be) they will have a good sharp pin to deflate much of what is behind Labour policy.

One thing I can't get over is that Paul Spoonley does two or 3 interviews a week why don't the media ask him about his statement that Pakeha will loose hegemony. Pakeha may be interested to know the whys and wherefores? I mean how does a majority ethnic group loose hegemony? Is this about Gramsci's long march or what?

greywarbler said...

Queen Victoria is supposed to have said in response to certain information - 'I don't want to know that'. Certain politicians have denied knowing things that they don't wish to register in their brain. Just musing.

greywarbler said...

Hate Speech everyone knows...anything that those with sufficient power at a certain point in time, deem unsatisfactory to the point of being reprehensible. No doubt we will look at history for precedent, and end up with something official with a sounding title fit for the present but acting along the lines of the old Witchhunter General.

And as we are already scorched by neo-liberalism mixed with puritanical demands for atonement and flagellation for past and present misdeeds of commission and omission, we will hardly notice the hurt it causes, and the depth of the lashes, excessive for the suggested purpose but appropriate to the twisted, vengeful minds of those legitimising the process. I fear another Labour 1984-style, OTT oxymoron, of 'reactionary reform'.

Graham Hill said...

Hate Speech is a Marxist doctrine (derived from CRT) to eradicate "wrong think". The connection of hate speech to violence-which gets an extended meaning (the saying "this does violence o rational thought" for example) is an ominous aspect to justify shutting down speech. 'Moral principles should have moral conclusions' says Muarice Cowly, and not, in my view legal state compelled ones Free speech interferes with the now Marxist Clerisy's objectives. J S Mill advocated for a clerisy but believed it would be disinterested, noble and altruistic. He never thought that it could be engaged and activist as is the Human Rights Commission and now the MoJ.

John Hurley said...

Did you know this Chris:

"There's a kind of dominant conversation that keeps remerging around democracy"

sumsuch said...

When the Star Trek intro went to 'where no man has gone before' in the 70s my brothers and I shouted out as one 'down the loo!'

As we go down the loo, how does this post matter? We are 100 times the 30s crisis and we are politely dissecting small points, like the letters to the Listener that Monte Holcroft so despised.

How -- it pays someone immediately. Keeps crap broiling along. Works the possible crowd. Immediate political realism will kill us dead in our old age, let alone our kids.

The Left, by definition, I now see, should be about the main thing.

And Chris Trotter is the best equipt to concentrate on our major challenge. Shout for our truth, Chris. Not the small political possibilities laissez-faire shit forced you into. As we all know it was crap from the beginning. This is 1939.

Will send you money.

Chris Morris said...

The fact that someone in Britain now has a police record as he was reported for whistling the theme tune to Bob the Builder shows how ridiculous the law can become. I suspect the first group it will be used against will be women who oppose the transactivists - the JK Rowling types. That would be a spectacular own goal by the government. Most of the people I associate with (old white cis males) would be unaffected as they have no social media presence and know they will get in trouble for anything they say - years of deterrence training by the wife

Chris Morris said...

The essay from spiked lined below shows the risk if one does not oppose Hate Speech laws before they are enacted. And how the cultural elite are damned by their hypocritical silence. To quote the writer "The forces of unreason, illiberalism and denunciation that are now central to woke activism, and especially trans activism, cannot be countered by keeping quiet. They won’t just fade away. They have to be confronted, forcefully, with clear arguments in favour of freedom of speech, rational discussion and women’s rights. It’s the Rowling Test – will you or will you not speak out against the misogynistic persecution of JK Rowling and others who have been found guilty of thoughtcrime by the kangaroo courts of the regressive regime of wokeness? Right now, many are failing this test, miserably."

Anonymous said...

Race relations commissioner Meng Foon told Newshub the booklet is "racist to the core".

Hold my beer. (RobbieWgtn)
DHB board chair Sharon Shea first saw it on Thursday night, was offended and found it wrong, she said in a statement.

“Since last night, I have been informed it was designed by a Māori artist, and had input from Māori marketing specialists and it had gone through an approval process, including consultation with some local iwi,” she said.

John Hurley said...

Here NZ on Air's arrogance

Extrapolating from that

For its purposes, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage
defines cultural well-being as:
The vitality that communities and individuals enjoy through
• participation in recreation, creative and cultural activities
• the freedom to retain, interpret and express their arts,
history, heritage and traditions,important%20and%20how%20they%20give%20expression%20tocommunity%20outcomes.

Chris Morris said...

Anonymous - both Meng Foon and the booklet owners might be right. More than a few Maori elites have said or done things that if they were actions of whites, would have been loudly and continuously condemned as racist. The booklet people might have been in this group. No doubt it is racism causing the low vaccination rates (sarc in case it isn't obvious)
It is more than a little concerning that no-one can define racist (or sexist or whatever "ist" you have as social crime de jour) unless they first reference the ethnicity or sex of the speaker. That in itself proves it is just a social construct. There is a pecking order of victimhood and everything has to be judged against this magical list.

greywarbler said...

See Chris Morris 6.51. (It's unbelievable but true.
A Bedfordshire man has ended up with a police record for "racial hatred" after whistling the theme tune to Bob The Builder at his neighbour.

Police in Bedfordshire recorded the interaction as a non-crime hate incident, which will remain on their file for six years.
The record could be disclosed to potential employers, impacting the man’s chances of getting a new job.
If a potential employer asks for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, the non-crime hate incident could show up....

In 2020, 10,840 non-crime hate incidents were logged across the country, with 120,000 recorded since the new system was introduced.

The Express reported further examples citing a swimming teacher in West Yorkshire given a police record after a child’s mother claimed her son had been allowed to bang his head against the side of the pool ‘due to his ethnicity’, and a gay man who claimed he had been ripped off by a drug dealer because of his sexuality.


sumsuch said...

Yet the government isn't the devil. Just trying to protect minorities from silliness, set a standard. And all the hullabaloo about our 'freedom'. That word is the spume of our wealth and the weasel word of the wealthy. Solidarity is laughable now. So we will go down early -- unnecessarily at all? -- spouting 'liberty'.

By the by, why are the rich stupid? Maybe because you need that 'quality' to take seriously, and achieve, wealth accumulation.

John Hurley said...

New Zealand's best known media studies academic on the Free Speech Union

John Hurley said...

I'm finding some interesting material about public media involving speeches by Steve Maharey and Clare Curran. Both stress the purpose of public media is for a strong democracy and national identity and the need for public media to be sovereign.

Something isn't quite right here. You have the entity "public media" over and above everyone else. How is it sovereign? It appeals to minorities by way of funding organisations while at the same time attacking majority culture (Long White Cloud).

Eric Kaufmann says majority ethnic groups are the architecture on which nation-states are built. How might that work?

I think it would show up in the preferences of that ethnic group. Under this regime preference is mandated. It is a societal coup d'etat.