Statutes Repeal Bill- Committee Stage- Clause 3 – Video 3

Statutes Repeal Bill- Committee Stage- Clause 3 – Video 3

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for Thank You mr. Chu I call well Paul Foster Bell Thank You mr. chair for the opportunity make a contribution and the statute repeal bill debate firstly I just want to begin by responding to a couple of things that members have said during this debate and firstly to the member unotel Academy I think this bill is actually a very well ressure researched it’s a very ratio shape piece of legislation where our advisors have carefully methodically and fastidiously fumbled through the musty dusty statute books to find those pieces of legislation which either in entirety have no continuing relevance or partially need to be repealed to tidy up the statute book so I want to thank and congratulate our advisors who have so Abele assisted us the committee as has been pointed out did actually come across four additional pieces of legislation which we wanted to repeal in entirety another which we decided should be partially repealed and they were the education law Amendment Act 1933 the infants Act repeal act 1989 the taxation acts repeal Act 1986 the Wellington City reserves act 1872 and section four of the Wellington City reserves act 1871 so I do want to assure the member mr. Tara carton a that we we’re an assiduous committee and we did go through looking for any other examples of obsolete and unnecessary legislation that can be safely repealed without unintended consequences but I think the difference between those very obscure very prosaic and very obsolete pieces of legislation we talk about bills that go back to 817 81 and the legislation that incorporated in mr. HIPPA cans statutes as supplementary order paper to the statute repeal bill is that they had long since failed to have any continuing legal effect and I think the difference between that and section 1 2 3 of the Crimes Act is that it still remains part of our Criminal Code now for one I am completely opposed to the idea that any form of thought or crime of thought or of speech or of conscience should remain part of our criminal code on an ongoing basis and I believe I spoke in my maiden speech in that regard it is archaic that a country like New Zealand should prohibit speech of any sort in the way we are in section 1 2 3 of the Crimes Act with a threat of imprisonment for those who commit blasphemy and I’ve lived in countries we’re blessed for me apostasy here are see whatever you want to call it treated with severe force and the criminal justice system New Zealand thankfully isn’t one of those countries so whilst it has been on the the record book well it’s in the Crimes Act 1961 but been on our statute book incorporated from English law and actually England has long since dropped it there have been no successful prosecutions for blasphemy in New Zealand so the last attempted prosecution was nearly a hundred years ago it’s the Maori land worker act maryland worker newspaper case in which the government of the day william Massey’s government having failed to get a Sedition prosecution for a pacifist article in a newspaper attempted to use blasphemy even back in the early 20th century the jury failed to to convict in that particular instance and subsequent attempts to seek blessed for me prosecutions in New Zealand most recently for a 2005 episode of the TV show South Park which was in bad taste I will concede and also an a late 90s exhibition art exhibition at Te Papa Museum which depicted the Virgin Mary in a condom again it was bad taste and it wasn’t out of the sort that I enjoy but in both cases the government of the day because the Attorney General’s permission is required before blessed for me charges are able to be bought in both cases there were there was no case to answer so I think this is something that should be dealt with in a way which is not which is in line with the process that this house operates under and I’m very glad to understand that the government will in due course be having a comprehensive look at tidying up the Crimes Act 1961 it is over 50 years old it is in need of a bit of housekeeping in the same way that our wider statute book is getting housekeeping in this statute repeal bill mr. chair Paul foster well thank you mr. chair so in the same way that we are getting a wider set of housekeeping done the Crimes Act will get a proper look and I would point out that whilst we didn’t get specific a huge number a deluge of specific submissions because the vast majority of what we dealt with in the sheer jewels to this bill are uncontroversial matters I suspect should the blasphemy provisions of the Crimes Act have been one of those that we went out to seek consultation on there would have been a far greater degree of public interest in there for a far wider variety and greater number of submissions provided so I think at this point in time it does make sense for us to Park this issue as we’ve seen there’s no immediacy or urgency required given there have been no prosecutions for bless me in the history of our country thankfully and actually it does raise a very interesting question because when I was looking at this issue a number of countries have simply legislated to drop bless for me from their statute books and that’s what happened in the United Kingdom in Scotland however it’s argued that a combination of human rights legislation coming into place but lack of use the fact that the the last prosecution for blasphemy in Scotland was 1824 that sufficient time has elapsed that the law has effectively become obsolete from lack of use and I think you could argue that our Blessed me law could almost be in that category we having never been successfully used to secure a prosecution and not actually used at all for a hundred years now so on the blasphemy issue so I think that there should be a comprehensive and a structured approach and due process should be followed and we should get robust cross-party agreement on all of these issues I’m sure when it comes to pass but this is a statutes repeal bill and it is important I think that we we do have a good degree of consensus within this house when we’re looking to remove bills particularly if there hasn’t been public submissions on those matters I call one Michael wood yep it’s a pleasure

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