In what circumstances should a liberal state enforce a certain view of art as good or bad? New Zealand has attempted to answer this perplexing question by passing comprehensive censorship legislation – the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993. Three years earlier, our parliament enacted a non-supreme Bill of Rights as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, which contains a right to freedom of expression. This article will examine the interrelationship of these two pieces of legislation and their effect on works of art. The origins and establishment of the New Zealand classification system will be traced, followed by a description of the most important censorship provisions which impact on artwork. A selection of decisions impacting on works of art will then be analysed. Finally, the protection given to freedom of expression in our Bill of Rights will be described, and the approach taken to it within the censorship regime investigated in relation to artworks. I conclude that although a supreme Bill of Rights would lessen the impact of our censorship regime on artworks, nonetheless, our censors currently take great care to ensure that artworks are censored as little as possible in New Zealand.
|Keywords:||Art, Law, Censorship, New Zealand|
Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
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