Radio NZ News 2 October 2015
Whether New Zealand’s first banned book in 20 years remains off-limits to teenagers could be decided today.
No one has been able to buy, borrow or display Ted Dawe’s Into the River for three and a half weeks, after Christian lobby group Family First complained about the content’s sex scenes, drug use and swearing.
The Board of Film and Literature Review will meet behind closed doors this afternoon to hear submissions from libraries, authors and bookseller groups, as well as from Family First.
It will then vote on whether to place an age restriction of either 14 or 18, or no restriction at all.
Family First maintained that an R18 label would be most appropriate but said it would be satisfied with an R14 restriction.
The group’s national director, Bob McCoskrie, said the book contained references to illicit drugs, sexual grooming of young people and offensive language.
He also wanted an investigation into the then-deputy chief censor, who made the call to remove the R14 restriction in the first place, and criticised current chief censor Dr Andrew Jack for continuing to support the book being free of an age restriction.
“The censor is guilty of minimising a number of harmful themes in the book, including sexual activity and sexual grooming between children and adults, the normalising of illicit drug-taking, exposure to pedophile, and playing down the activity of distributing naked images of young boys.
“The normalisation of illegal acts when directed towards young readers is unconscionable.”