Sedition submission

I made my first submission to a parliamentary select comittee today. it is based largely on the excellent ones drawn up by David Farrar and Idiot/Savant. The text of the submission is below:
Submission to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill.


Currently, New Zealand law contains four sections of the Crimes Act 1961, namely sections 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85, which can pose a threat to freedom of speech in New Zealand. This submission supports the deletion of these sections from the Crimes Act, and supports passage of the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill into law, because of the reasons outlined below.

Reasons why the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill should become law.

1. The threat posed by sections 81-85 of the Crimes Act to freedom of speech. These sections of the Crimes Act enable people to be imprisoned for up to two years if they publish a document which may “bring into hatred or contempt, or excite disaffection against Her Majesty, or the government of New Zealand” (quotes from section 81 of the Crimes Act 1961). This is a very broad and vague definition and may be interpreted in a way that prohibits any criticism of the Government. Although there are defences in section 81(2), these defences are not absolute. The potential for sedition laws to be used to restrict freedom of speech has been demonstrated several times in New Zealand history. Information on the historic abuses of sedition laws to restrict freedom of speech can be found at the following website: . This resource gives 21 examples from New Zealand history of when and how sedition laws have been used. A worrying case not contained in the index is how earlier this year, the owner of the Bowling Green tavern in Dunedin was charged by the police for sedition because he offered students the chance to win a petrol soaked coach. Although the charges were latter dropped, this case demonstrates how a person can be prosecuted for publishing a seditious document, even if that document contains no mention of civil disobedience, violence or the Government, and that Police discretion can not be relied upon to avoid prosecution for trivial breeches of the law.
2. There are many more appropriate alternatives to sections 81-85 of the Crimes Act. These are sections 73, 74, 77, 79, 86, 87, 145, 307, 308, 309 of the Crimes Act 1961, and section 131 of the Human Rights Act 1991, section 5 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and sections 3-8 of the Summary Offences Act 1981. these pieces of legislation can be used as an alternative to sections 81-85 of the Crimes Act 1961 to handle actions which injure the public good.


I urge the Justice and Electoral Committee to support the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill, and recommend to the House the passage of the Bill into law.

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One Comment on “Sedition submission”

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