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Legal Appeal Is The Only Appeal Lolita Should Get

30 September 1999

Graham Capill
Party Leader


Christian Heritage intends to file an appeal against a decision of the Film and Literature Board to essentially uphold the R18 certificate given to Lolita by the Classification Office. A proforma appeal was filed in the High Court in Wellington today.

“New Zealand should follow Belgium’s lead and ban the new Hollywood film based on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita,” declares Christian Heritage Leader, Graham Capill.

Along with campaigners against child abuse in Belgium and Germany, Christian Heritage will attempt to have the film, which examines the sexual obsession of a man with his twelve-year-old stepdaughter, totally withdrawn.

“That the story of an older man and his sexual relationship with a prepubescent schoolgirl has been passed by the Office of Film and Literature Classification is of concern not only to family-centred organisations but to the victims of sexual abuse.

“The appallingly high rate of child abuse in this country does not need any reinforcement from American film makers” stated Capill. “Unfortunately”, noted the leader of the Christian Heritage Party, “this is a case of art imitating life as studies show that step-fathers are four times more likely to abuse their daughters than biological fathers.”

Justice Department figures show that seventy-nine percent of the 1,565 convictions for violent sexual offences in 1997 involved victims aged 16 years or less, forty-five percent of whom were under the age of 12 years. Of these 683 under 12-year-old victims, the over whelming majority were girls.

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“When society pays only lip service to protecting its children then we are in a very sorry state. Either the government and the censorship bodies take their responsibility as protectors of the most vulnerable members of society seriously, and ban this film, or admit they gave up caring about New Zealand’s children a long time ago.

“What this country needs is not a film glorifying illegal sex with minors, but a government committed to putting the family first and protecting children from sex abuse” Mr Capill said.

Christian Heritage believes that the Films, Videos and Publications Act bans such subject matter. “I hope that the High Court will make some definitive statements of law which will ensure the Act is upheld and children are properly protected,” Mr Capill concluded.

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