Call for gay hate speech to be illegal after Destiny leader's 'human sin' quake sermon

The Green and Labour parties are asking why the Human Rights Act (HRC) does not have a clause against gay hate speech, after the Human Rights Commission revealed that was the reason why complaints against Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki could not be progressed last year.

Brian Tamaki is given a fair chance to respond to the request over his 'sin' causing earthquakes comments. Source: Seven Sharp

The HRC says a total of 20 complaints were received after Mr Tamaki made comments in November referring to the Old Testament's Leviticus and implying that homosexuality was a cause of natural disasters just days before the Kaikoura earthquake.

A Charities Services committee ruled last year that the Bill of Rights Act's freedom of speech sections guarantee Mr Tamaki's right to express his religious beliefs.

Collated information was then put to the agency this year by 1 NEWS consisting of several instances already in the public domain where statements some would perceive to be anti-gay or discriminatory were made by the self-appointed Bishop.

After considering the information, the agency again declined to investigate Destiny entities, but this time took the additional step of referring the information to the Human Rights Commission to see if a criminal offence had been committed, therefore constituting "serious wrongdoing" and being grounds for the deregistration of Destiny's charities.

Toni says the Destiny Church leader has offended a significant number of people for his shocking earthquake comments. Source: Seven Sharp

An HRC spokesperson said it could not recommend action be taken because the comments were prejudicial against those of a certain sexual orientation- and that is not a specific offence under New Zealand's Human Rights Act.

Green Party spokesperson for Rainbow Issues Jan Logie says it is time for the legislation to be updated to meet "contemporary needs" and the Labour Party's spokesperson for the Community and Voluntary sector Poto Williams agrees, saying a review of the Human Rights Act is "definitely something that is worth considering".

"Hate speech is hate speech," Ms Williams said.

HRC Chief Mediator Pele Walker said general comments like Bishop Tamaki's, "even when highly offensive", would not meet the standards for a criminal offence, as there is no clause under the Human Rights Act against verbal comments made against people based on their sexual orientation.

I think we need to review the Act and there are quite a few discussions that we need to have to ensure it reflects our current values and all of our rights - Green Party LGBTI spokesperson Jan Logie

However, HRC Commissioner Richard Tankersley told 1 NEWS that while hate speech based on sexual orientation is not illegal, "we would expect all people, especially those who hold themselves out as religious leaders, to act and speak in a manner consistent with values of inclusion, respect and compassion towards other members of our community, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity".

The Greens' Ms Logie said: "I think we need to review the Act and there are quite a few discussions that we need to have to ensure it reflects our current values and all of our rights.

"I have long held concerns regarding some of the hateful, worrying views regarding gays and women promoted by Destiny Church ... as a lesbian, and as a modern New Zealander, I find many of their views abhorrent."

Paul Foster-Bell has never talked about his sexuality publicly, but after Tamaki's outburst he felt "furious" and compelled to speak out. Source: Q+A

MPs from both the Labour Party and National Party - including Chris Finlayson, Steven Joyce, Paul Foster-Bell, Grant Robertson and David Clark - spoke out about the comments last year.

Regarding a potential change to the Human Rights Act, Justice Minister Amy Adams said she is comfortable with how the current legislation works.

"While there is no explicit offence of hate speech, it is an aggravating factor under the Sentencing Act 2002 if an offence is committed because of hostility towards a group of people who have an enduring common characteristic such as sexual orientation," Ms Adams said in a statement.

"The Government considers that existing provisions provide the appropriate balance between freedom of expression and protecting people from discrimination and there currently no plans to review or alter the existing provisions in this area."

David Clark lashes out at the Destiny Church leader over his comments that sinners were to blame for the Christchurch quake. Source: 1 NEWS

A spokesperson for Destiny Church told 1 NEWS: "We all want our rights protected, so we also look forward to the day when there is a law that protects freedom of religious belief without being subject to discrimination, public insults and constant media haranguing."

Other countries which have specific anti-hate speech laws based on sexual orientation:

The United Kingdom
Australia (in Queensland, Tasmania and ACT)
South Africa
France
Ireland
The Netherlands
Denmark
Sweden
Finland
Iceland
Norway



'Everything we can to try and keep them safe' - NZ petrol station chain rolling out measures to combat robberies

A New Zealand petrol station chain has rolled out a range of measures to combat the significant number of robberies targeting tobacco products in a hope to buck the trend. 

Z Petrol stations have installed specially designed tobacco safes to stop robbers from stealing cigarettes and tobacco and have taken other measures to protect their front of line staff. 

Julian Hughes from Z Energy told TVNZ1's Breakfast programme, while the number of robberies are decreasing for Z stations, robberies are "completely unacceptable".

"This sort of behaviour it's unacceptable for our board, it's unacceptable for me and my management team but most importantly it's unacceptable for our people, our retailers on the front line and those people who go to work everyday for this sort of behaviour to be happening," Mr Hughes said.

"We are doing everything we can to try and keep them safe so they can be safe when they go to work."

Mr Hughes said management have made their stores "very visible and really light" by taking down marketing material obstructing windows and have provided staff with necessary training. 

When explaining the new concept of the safes, Mr Hughes said they are now focusing on putting tobacco products in secure units. 

"The guys at night can't access it so it's a lock down unit like a safe you would use for cash.

"It means that you can't access the product. In terms of sale we still access it, we push a button on the counter and a packet comes out...so it doesn't affected our ability to trade but it means the actually product is locked down and can't be accessed by people... who are trying to steal that product."

Z Petrol stations have installed specially designed tobacco safes which make it hard for product to be stolen. Source: Breakfast

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One-year-old girl drowns in pool at her Gisborne home

A one-year-old girl has drowned in a pool at her home in Gisborne, yesterday.

A police spokesperson told 1 NEWS they along with ambulance were called around 4pm yesterday to a Gisborne address.

The matter has been referred to the Coroner.

Police car Source: 1 NEWS