Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's hope for political consensus regarding hate speech law is looking doubtful as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack reignites the debate.
The 800-page report includes a recommendation to create a new offence under the Crimes Act, making it illegal to intentionally stir up hatred against racial or religious groups.
In a speech in Parliament on Tuesday, Ardern promised to work with all parties to try to close "the gaps in hate speech legislation".
"I know this is a contentious area, and we will work with determination to try form that consensus if we can."
But soon after, National leader Judith Collins told reporters Ardern would have to provide "a very compelling reason" to win her MPs' support.
"As a party, we certainly do not support people being criminalised for unwise statements when they should be basically spoken to," Collins said.
"You can't legislate people's thoughts ... we wouldn't want to drive underground thoughts or statements that could then lead to ... violence."
Act leader David Seymour also reiterated his party's long-held opposition to hate speech legislation.
"It would be wrong to introduce British-style hate speech laws without even the exemptions for free and fair debate that those laws have in Britain."
In its report, the commission recommended repealing existing hate speech provisions in the Human Rights Act and creating a new offence under the Crimes Act.
The law change would make it a crime to intentionally "stir up, maintain or normalise hatred" against racial or religious groups through the use of "threatening, abusive, or insulting" language.
Offenders would face up to three years in prison.
University of Otago law professor Andrew Geddis said the proposed offence would not significantly expand the type of speech currently criminalised.
"The Royal Commission's proposal is actually quite a mild and conservative one. In large part, it's about moving around bits of law, rather than seriously expanding its coverage," he said.
"I don't know that there's anything in the Royal Commission's report that we should be extraordinarily worried about."
University of Victoria law lecturer Eddie Clark too considered the recommendation to be a "reasonably minimalist" one.
He said he wished the commission had been bolder and also considered matters of gender and sexual orientation.
"It looks slightly once-over-lightly," Clark said.
"They didn't engage with the idea that people have a right to be free from discrimination and live openly as themselves in society without fear of being abused in the street."
Clark said he hoped the government would go further than the commission had recommended.