So how would two-or-three months of free availability now prevent the Board from doing likewise?
It fairly obviously would not. The decision makes little sense to me either :-)
So what is different this time around?
To be fair, there is at least one thing different this time, for most of that time the book was self-published, and perhaps not very widely known. It has now won an award and everything.
Or, alternatively, you (or the President, or anyone else) could file an application for an urgent injunction in the High Court to set aside the Office’s decision as unlawful on ultra vires grounds. Because the courts determine the lawfulness (or otherwise) of the Office’s decision to accept for reclassification, not the Board.
I think I'm with the Andrew on this. I was surprised by the decision of the Censor to review it so soon, and am open to the argument Steven posits that it was wrong to do so. I didn't focus on this in my piece because, well, a book that everyone agrees should not be banned has been banned, and that seemed like a bigger deal :-) But even the decision was wrong, that doesn't mean that the response to that decision is the correct one.
I did try to be fair to the President of the Board in assessing what I think his rationale must have been for imposing the interim restriction order, but nonetheless come down against the decision. Simply put, because the effect of an interim restriction order is to ban everyone from accessing the book, the power is, in my opinion, never appropriately used in respect of a publication that no-one wants to ban.
A High Court review is the appropriate course, not least because you could obtain the interim measures that the Bob McCoskrie, and the Board President actually want: a High Court could delay the coming into force of the new classification pending final review of the censor's decision that there were special circumstances. The High Court has the power to order, by temporarily staying the Censor's re-determination, to order that the Board's R14 restriction remain in place, pending determination of the question of whether the decision of the Censor was correct. The Board President cannot do that, and as Andrew argues, the Board is not empowered to review the decision that those circumstances exist, anyway.
Or maybe there is. Under s.51(2):
The President of the Board may, on the application of any of the following persons, or on the President’s own motion, revoke an interim restriction order:
(a) the applicant for the order:
(b) the owner, maker, publisher, or authorised distributor of the publication to which the order relates:
(c) any other person who satisfies the President of the Board that the person is detrimentally affected by the existence of the order.
I'd suggest that under (c), a librarian or bookseller who can't supply the book to a person wanting to loan or buy it could ask Dr Mathieson to invoke the order. Or, perhaps, even someone who wants to see what all the fuss is about, but is now unable to get hold of a copy of the book?
Thank you for the suggestion Andrew. I have just sent in an application to revoke the order. There appears to be no set form, and no fee, so I encourage others to do the same. Will update tomorrow, if I get confirmation I have sent it to the right place!
Why was the novel ever brought to the attention of the Censors? Was that FF, also?
Yes. It won the Book Award, and they were somewhat aghast.
I think it's also important to note that the reason for the R14 restriction was not on the basis of the sexual content or the strong language. It was because they felt younger children might struggle with the bullying depicted in the book. The sex was not considered a reason for restriction.
I don't think that's a fair description. The mature content of the book, including the sexual content, were among the matters that added to the case they accepted for an age restriction. I quote the summary at the end of the decision below:
42. “Into the River” contains scenes, and deals with themes, that most people would find offensive and upsetting. Those themes include bullying, underage casual and unsafe sex, drug taking and other matters. The book also includes the use of offensive language by a number of the characters.
43. However, the book is only “objectionable” under section 3 of the Act if it promotes or supports, or tends to promote or support certain activities prescribed in section
3(2), or if it otherwise deals with certain activities in a manner which is likely to be injurious to the public good.
44. Having read the book, and considered the helpful submissions received from Family First NZ, the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the author, the Board does not consider “Into the River” can be said to have a tendency to promote or support the activities it depicts. On the contrary, the Board considers that it usefully and extensively describes and illustrates the short and longer term negative consequences that such behaviours can have.
45. Significantly, by the end of the book, the music teacher has been arrested and the two main characters have been expelled, or left school in circumstances where they would otherwise have been expelled. The two best friends have been forced apart by the expulsion and have no realistic prospect of seeing each other again. Promising academic careers have been ruined, friendships have been broken and lives are in tatters. Most importantly of all, the main character is left isolated and alone. Although Te Arepa may be too tough to admit regret, the reader cannot help but draw the conclusion that he has made a series of wrong decisions and has wasted the opportunities that were available to him.
46. Accordingly, although the book describes a number of unacceptable, offensive and objectionable behaviours, it does not in any way promote them. On the contrary, the book clearly sets out to discourage and discredit such behaviours. Accordingly the Board does not consider the book generally to be “objectionable” as that term is defined in the Act.
47. Having said that, there are scenes within the book that are powerful and disturbing, and in the opinion of the Board run a real risk of shocking and disturbing young readers. Whilst those aged 14 and above are likely to have a level of maturity that enables them to deal with this, those below the age of 14 may not. Accordingly, the Board considers the publication should be age restricted to those who have attained the age of 14 years.
But if it is STV, then would a Hypnoflag supporter be advised to just rank that design with a number 1 and no ranking after that?
Your earlier rankings can never harm your later rankings. There is no harm at all in ranking the other flags in order of your other preference. There is a non-zero chance that New Zealand will have one of those Lockwood flags, so if you do prefer one over the other, there is no harm in ranking it higher.
Is it your view that the money was spent outside the scope the appropriation it came from? If so, have you considered a complaint with the police for a criminal breach of the Public Finance Act?
Is there a place where I can see the official submissions besides the media links from Rob's post?
Click through the link on the to the evidence on this page for the select committee inquiry into the 2014 general election.