INDEPENDENT NEWS

National moves on last-minute libel law

Published: Mon 19 Nov 2001 03:15 PM
Dr Wayne Mapp National Justice Spokesperson
19 November 2001
National moves on last-minute libel law
National will next week seek leave of the Parliament to change a tough new defamation clause which was slipped into the Electoral Amendment Bill (No.2) at the last minute.
"This sub-clause endangers free speech. It was surreptitiously inserted into a Supplementary Order Paper tabled last Wednesday, with no consultation with the Justice and Electoral Select Committee," says National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp.
"The Associate Justice Minister claimed the 39-page SOP contained just technicalities. However, buried within the SOP was this extremely broad libel provision. It should be limited to statements known to be untrue.
"Since the clause carries with it a penalty of three months' jail, there must be criminal intent. If it is a crime, it must be shown that the person actually knew the statement was false. No responsible media organisation would publish material it knows to be false.
"The clause is no doubt a backdoor restoration of criminal defamation, last used by Helen Clark in 1991 over pamphlets distributed in Mt Albert by the chairman of the General Practitioners Society, Dr Roger Ridley-Smith.
"The draconian provision throws into doubt the Government's commitment to freedom of the press," said Dr Mapp.
Ends

Next in New Zealand politics

Jacinda Ardern’s remarks following summit
By: New Zealand Government
NZTA Board refreshed and refocused
By: New Zealand Government
Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Assessment Framework
By: New Zealand Government
Mana whenua reach decision on Ihumātao land
By: RNZ
PM to visit Japan and attend the UN General Assembly
By: New Zealand Government
PM's Post-Cab 16/9/19: A Way Forward
By: The Scoop Team
Gordon Campbell on allegations of left wing media bias
By: Gordon Campbell
Tighter gun laws for the safety of all
By: New Zealand Government
New Zealand-Japan relationship strengthened
By: New Zealand Government
eGates open to Japanese travellers
By: New Zealand Government
Twyford is the issue, not the board
By: New Zealand National Party
Too little too late for funding switch from rail to road
By: New Zealand National Party
First national voluntary emissions offset guidelines
By: New Zealand Government
NCCRA a start but local focus needed
By: LGNZ
Forest & Bird calls for urgent action on ocean acidity
By: Forest And Bird
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media