Kiritapu Allan has more bills at the select committee than any of her government colleagues. Yesterday she announced two new areas of work and that hate speech law will be through before the election, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday morning, sign up here.
Justice minister has full legislative slate
Of the 26 government bills currently at select committee stage (this excludes members’ bills), Kiritapu Allan is the minister in charge of six of them, more than any of the government’s other ministers or MPs. On top of two bills targeting gangs, there is also electoral law reform, a bill aimed at tackling delays in the Family Court, the bill to allow Māori voters to switch electoral rolls at any time (report due this week) and counter terroism legislation. As Newsroom’s Marc Daalder reports, there is growing discomfort at the number of changes being made to terrroism law over a short space of time. Allan herself doesn’t think the constant tinkering is “appropriate”.
Hate speech law to be passed before election
This was all before Allan made three further announcements yesterday. Speaking to TVNZ’s Q&A, Allan said the government is proposing changes to alcohol laws, that she is seeking urgent changes to name suppression law and that hate speech law will be passed before the election next year. The commitment to hate speech law being passed before the election differs from comments made in March by the former justice minister. You’ll recall the bill got buried in a quagmire of flubs about whether calling someone “a boomer” or “a Karen” would be hate speech and whether the law would only apply if someone was inciting violence and hatred. Allan said an announcement on hate speech law will be made before the end of the year.
Proposed changes to alcohol laws a win for Chlöe Swarbrick
The changes to alcohol law are proposed to take place over two stages. The first will pick up the work Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has been doing by making changes to alcohol licensing; giving community opponents to liquor licences more power to have a say over how alcohol sales are regulated in their neighbourhoods. This morning the Herald’s Issac Davison (paywalled) called the proposed changes “a major victory” for Swarbrick. The second stage will examine alcohol marketing and sponsorship which is also part of Swarbrick’s members’ bill, as I’ve covered recently.
Well-resourced defendants have an easier time in court –a fair perception
Allan also said she also wants urgent changes made to name suppression law. Asked if name suppression is working, Allan said “I don’t think so.” She said the perception that well-resourced defendants had an easier time in court was fair. “I don’t think that leads to just outcomes, and it’s certainly an area that’s at the top of my priorities because it does fall under that access to justice and a victim-centric system,” she said. Just this week, after persistent efforts by Stuff and the NZ Herald, former National party president Michelle Boag lost name suppression in the case involving a high profile businessman (who still has name suppression). In 2021, RNZ revealed Pākehā are three times more likely to be granted name suppression as Māori.