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Action on parody emblem “ridiculous”

Hon Christopher Finlayson

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
18 January 2014 Media Statement

Action on parody emblem “ridiculous”

The notion of legal action against a coffee roaster for t-shirts showing a clear parody of the New Zealand coat of arms substituting a surfboard into the image is ridiculous, Minister for Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said today.

“I saw the news item last night in the Chatham Islands where I was staying,” Mr Finlayson said. “It is the first I had heard of it, and I dismissed it as a joke.”

“No action will be taken against Raglan Roast for the simple reason that they are doing nothing wrong.”

“The Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act protects the use of images of the actual coat of arms, as well as other significant national symbols. It is intended to prevent advertisers from claiming they have royal patronage, or misleading the public into thinking a person is an official supplier of services to the government.”

“It is not intended to prevent people from printing light-hearted t-shirts.”

“I doubt very much whether anyone would be misled in this way by a t-shirt’s parody image with a surfboard on it. I cannot see how this could be a breach of the Act. I understand the Ministry for Culture and Heritage had already reached the same conclusion.”

“I wish the proprietors of Raglan Roast a happy summer.”

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