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Nandor slams judge's Bill of Rights ruling

Nandor slams judge's Bill of Rights ruling

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today slammed a District Court judgement which found that an Auckland City Council bylaw did not breach the Bill of Rights. The bylaw allows for signs on residential properties advertising products or services but bans other messages including political opinion.

The finding was against Aucklander Ike Finau last December. Ike is due to appear in Auckland District Court again tomorrow and faces a potential prison sentence for signs on his property including 'God save the Queen' and 'GE-Free zone'.

"Judge Joyce's ruling is astounding. He says that Ike's freedom of expression is not being unfairly restricted because he is still allowed to make leaflets and speak at Council meetings. That is like saying it's OK to ban political opinion in newspapers because people can watch TV," said Nandor.

"At a time when the Auckland City Council has been ejecting members of the public from council chambers when they disagree with council decisions, to then say he can raise issues at council meetings is a joke."

Nandor said he believed Judge Joyce's decision was incorrect and he was writing to the Human Rights Commission asking for an immediate investigation.

Yesterday Nandor wrote to both the Attorney General and the Local Government Minister asking them to clarify what procedures exist to ensure that bylaws do not breach the Bill of Rights. He spoke in parliament during the general debate on this case this afternoon.

"The judgement shows a real lack of regard for the basic freedom of expression guaranteed to all New Zealanders by the Bill of Rights Act. That is a serious concern.

"To demonstrate the absurdity, the bylaw probably bans window displays on houses saying 'Merry Christmas'," said Nandor.

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