Parties On Board Over Cyber Bullying Bill

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 — 8:41 PM

Negotiations over changes to controversial cyber bullying legislation have led to a general, if somewhat reluctant, consensus.

MPs completed the committee stages of the Harmful Digital Communications Bill this evening with all parties with the exception of ACT now supporting the bill despite reservations.

Clare Curran said Labour supported moves to cut down on cyber-bullying and recognised the current framework was inadequate. However Labour had significant concerns about the bill. The Minister had made some constructive changes and though Labour would like more, the party would support the bill overall.

Communications Minister Amy Adams said it was a new regime, but it was dealing with new technology and a new threat. She had been guided by the Law Commission report on the issue. The majority of the new regime was education and civil action, there was a last option for criminal action, but this was not to the extent critics of the bill claimed. She said the changes to the bill should alleviate most of this concerns

Tracey Martin said NZ First would now support the bill as the minister had been constructive in addressing the issues over criminalisation of children which had been at the heart of her party’s concerns.

ACT MP David Seymour indicated he would be voting against a Government bill for the first time because it has egregious features and would become a case study in bad law making. The bill would not achieve what it promised it would create a “star chamber” which would be used to abuse free speech.

During the committee stage the Government’s amendments were backed by all parties except ACT.

MPs then returned to the committee stage of the Environmental Reporting Bill.
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