Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Religious vilification laws in New Zealand: Should the freedom of expression be taken as gospel?

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posted on 2021-11-15, 07:58 authored by Barber, Fran

With ever-increasing multiculturalism and diversity within New Zealand, this paper explores the potential for religious vilification laws to be passed in order to promote community tolerance. New Zealand’s Human Rights Act 1993 includes both civil and criminal offences for the incitement of hostility on the grounds of race. There is no commensurate provision protecting religion. This paper considers the harm that religious vilification laws seek to remedy, and whether their efficacy in preventing this harm is proportionate to the incursion upon the freedom of expression. Ultimately, it suggests that while there are real harms associated with religious hate speech, the adversarial legal system is a flawed instrument through which to deal with it.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Hastings, Bill