Spotlight on heads of censorship
Challenge Weekly (April 15, 2002. p. 3) has reported that: "The Head of the Office of Film and Literature Classification has endorsed an obscene film on public radio. Some are calling for the Chief Censor to be sacked in light of this."
"Chief Censor, Bill Hastings, gave his 'personal' views on a Japanese film called Visitor Q on Auckland University Radio,  bFM. The film has been given an R18 rating because it contains graphic depictions of necrophilia (sex with a female corpse) in association with human excrement, incest, sexual violation, drug taking, degrading and dehumanising acts and other gross obscenities."
"While many would be shocked at this content, the Chief Censor, described the film as "accomplished and funny". He also endorsed another festival film Bully which features self-mutilation, underage sex, drug taking by youngsters, sleazy sex acts and criminal acts, as "a masterpiece". Society for Promotion of Community Standards have brought it to Challenge Weekly's attention that Mr Hastings has also defended the French film Baise Moi, as suitable for adult viewing. While it has been banned and cut in the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions, not so in New Zealand."
Mr Hastings personal comments on the three films which were scheduled to screen at the Beck's Incredible Film Festival - Visitor Q, Baise-Moi and Bully - were made on Radio 95 bFM in an interview with Mr Stephen Grey, a film critic, on Wednesday 27 March 2002 at 12.16 pm. Following successful appeals by the Society to the Film and Literature Board of Review and High Court at Wellington, the first two of these films have been removed from the festival following the imposition of interim restriction orders made on 11 and 12 April 2002 respectively.
Challenge Weekly reports: "The secretary of the Society for Promotion of Community Standards, David Lane asks why Mr Hastings is not being called to account by his Minister, the Hon George Hawkins who is responsible for his appointment as Chief Censor? ' One politician is calling him to account - Mr Peter Brown, deputy leader of NZ First. In two recent press releases he has called for his removal as Chief Censor by the Minister,' says Mr Lane."