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The Christchurch terrorist attack last Friday was clearly animated by a visceral hatred of Muslims. The gunman left excruciating details about his radicalisation and his white supremacist ideology for all to see.

But while there is a good chance the shooter will become the first person to get a life sentence without parole in New Zealand, he is unlikely to be charged with a “hate crime”, because technically speaking, the country has no such thing. Instead, hate or prejudice is dealt with by a patchwork and diffuse legal framework.