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Deputy Chief Censor Vacancy

Wednesday 3 May 2006.

Deputy Chief Censor Vacancy

Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.

The Society is calling on the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon. Rick Barker, to replace the Deputy Chief Censor of Film and Literature, Ms Nicola McCully whose statutory position became vacant on 17 September 2005, over seven and a half months ago.

The Minister has failed in his statutory duty to fill this position, having neither replaced her, removed her from office, nor re-appointed her. The Society contends that he has had more than sufficient time to do so since he became the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The Society points out that Ms McCully has failed to fulfill her statutory duties as laid down in the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 ("the Act"). It has lost count of the number of classification decisions she has signed and/or been responsible for, that have cleared films, videos and DVDs for public viewing, that have at the very least "tend to promote and support" criminal activities such as rape and other sexually degrading, demeaning and dehumanising acts – all directed against young women. It holds Chief Censor Bill Hastings and his deputy Nicola McCully, to account for the ever-increasing volumes of sexually degrading objectionable garbage that is being cleared for release by their Office, into mainstream cinema and the home-‘entertainment’ industry.

The Minister has claimed that Ms McCully, who was first appointed as deputy Chief in 2002 for a period of three years, has remained in office despite the expiry date having well passed, because the former Minister, the Hon. George Hawkins, requested that she remain in office. This is a lame-duck excuse for the current Minister’s inability to fulfill his statutory duties under the law and ensure that the statutory position is filled in accord with processes set out under the Crown Entities Act 2004.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs profile released when Ms McCully was first appointed in 2002 as deputy chief censor, she had already had eight years experience in the field of censorship, including that of Manager of the Office’s classification Unit, prior to being appointed deputy. Prior to working in censorship she worked with special needs children in a Christchurch primary school. At the time of her appointment she was living with her female partner of seven years on the South Wellington Coast.

Society president Mike Petrus says: "The Society strongly opposes the reappointment of Ms McCully. She and her mentor Bill Hastings whom she served alongside in the Classification Office since he was appointed deputy chief censor, have issued numerous classification decisions that reflect an extremely liberal mindset. For example, she and Hastings both approved the following films for adult viewing for the purpose of "entertainment" in cinemas and/or for home viewing and/or for study by students in tertiary film and media courses, following reviews: the brutal and sexually explicit rape films "Baise-Moi" and "Irreversible"; the sexually explicit film "9 Songs", the sexually degrading film "Anatomy of Hell" and video "Sinners No Doctor, Yes Doctor", and the gratuitous Japanese sex-violence film "Visitor Q", depicting necrophilia, sex acts involving human excrement, incest and corpse mutilation. She and Hastings issued these decisions well aware that it is parliament's intentions, as embodied in section 3 of the Act, that such obscene content matter should be strictly off limits for the public (e.g. lengthy, gratuitous and explicit depictions of rape)."

Petrus says: "The government should ensure the immediate replacement of Ms McCully by a competent and qualified person who will uphold the law, oppose and stop the current unlawful regime that clears films for public cinemas that contain gratuitous depictions of objectionable content defined clearly in the Classification Act 1993."


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