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Sedition laws fifty years past their used-by date

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Dunne: Sedition laws fifty years past their used-by date

United Future leader Peter Dunne has backed the call of the Law Commission to abolish the sedition laws, saying that if the Government fails to act, United Future will consider drafting a members Bill to remove the laws from New Zealand legislation.

"The abolition of the sedition laws in this country is long overdue, and necessary in the interests of free speech and the democratic process," says Mr Dunne.

"Crimes of sedition are either excessively restrict free speech or can easily be covered under existing law.

"United Future's confidence and supply agreement protects freedom of expression by ensuring that there will be no legislation to restrict speech through so called 'hate speech' laws.

"But the charge of sedition appears to have emerged from retirement recently and poses an unnecessary interference on free speech.

"For 50 years it was never used by police - nor was it needed. But it emerged again last year and again this year. It is unnecessary, vague, and has got to go.

"The Government should act now on the call from the Law Commission - sedition laws are fifty years past their used by date.

"United Future will look to draft a members Bill in order to achieve this if the Government fails to act," says Mr Dunne.


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