Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Act 2007

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Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Act 2007
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
New Zealand Parliament
Date of Royal Assent 30 October 2007
Date commenced 1 January 2008
Introduced by Mark Burton
Status: Current legislation

The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Act 2007 is an Act of Parliament passed in New Zealand in 2007. It removed the crime of sedition from the New Zealand statute book.


While outlawed by the Crimes Act 1961, the crime of sedition had fallen into disuse in New Zealand, with the last prosecutions having occurred in the 1930s. The law was revived in 2004, after political activist Tim Selwyn threw an axe through the window of Prime Minister Helen Clark's electorate office.[1] Selwyn was subsequently charged with seditious conspiracy,[2] and convicted in July, 2006.[3] The case, and the police's subsequent use of the sedition law to punish trivial offences,[4][5] caused widespread concern and prompted calls for the law to be repealed. The government had already asked the Law Commission to review the law in late 2006, and on 5 April 2007 it released its report formally recommending that the law be repealed.[6] A coalition of four minor parties - ACT New Zealand, the Greens, the Māori Party and United Future - who collectively held a balance of power in Parliament, jointly called for repeal.[7] On 7 May 2007 the government responded, announcing its intention to repeal the law.[8]

Introduction and passage[edit]

The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 8 June 2007.[9] It was given its first reading on 14 and 19 June, and passed unanimously.[10][11] On 24 August, the Justice and Electoral Select Committee recommended it proceed without amendment.[12] Despite unanimous support during its early stages, the bill was opposed during its second and third readings by the New Zealand First Party, who believed that some version of the law was necessary to fight terrorism.[13] The bill passed its third reading 114 - 7 on 24 October 2007,[14] and sedition ceased to be a crime in New Zealand on 1 January 2008.


  1. ^ "Axe attack on PM's office prompts nationwide warning". New Zealand Herald. 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  2. ^ "Man charged over axe attack on PM's electorate office". New Zealand Herald. 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Jail for axe attack on PM's office". New Zealand Herald. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Sedition by Example XXII: Christopher Russell". No Right Turn. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  5. ^ "Dunedin pub manager off hook after police drop sedition charge". New Zealand Herald. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  6. ^ "Lawyers call for abolition of sedition laws". New Zealand Herald. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  7. ^ "Minor party coalition calls for repeal of sedition". Scoop Media. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  8. ^ "Labour will back scrap of sedition laws". NewstalkZB. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  9. ^ "Government moves to repeal sedition laws". Scoop Media. 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  10. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 639 9925; 640 9975.
  11. ^ "Sedition Bill passes first hurdle". New Zealand Herald. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  12. ^ "Report of the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  13. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 642, 12543
  14. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 643, 12689

External links[edit]