Ingenious New Zealand bans shooter’s manifesto, then charges $102 for license to hold a copy

Ingenious New Zealand bans shooter’s manifesto, then charges $102 for license to hold a copy
Where the magic happens. New Zealand's Office of Film & Literature Classification in Wellington. Google Street View image

Gubmint gotta gubmint, no matter where in the world it holds forth.

Last week, New Zealand’s Chief Censor declared that the “manifesto” produced by accused terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who slaughtered 50 people in the mosque attacks the week before, was objectionable, and would be banned for the “public good.”

The shooter also published a video online, which the Chief Censor deemed similarly objectionable.

The New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification has posted guidance for the public on this troublesome issue.

It is an offence to possess or distribute an objectionable publication. People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies.

Those engaged in further reporting on the Christchurch attack may be tempted to consider the use of quotes from the publication that have already been used in other media reports.

“That use of excerpts in media reports may not in itself amount to a breach of the FVPCA, but ethical considerations will certainly apply,” said Shanks.

The Chief Censor, David Shanks, really means it.  He wants New Zealanders to destroy any copies they have, and report it if they see this harmful content.

“New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror. If you have a copy of this publication, delete or destroy it. If you see it, report it. Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.”

If you see material of this nature online, report it immediately.

To report harmful content on Twitter, click here.

To report harmful content on Facebook, click here.

To report harmful content on Instagram, click here.

To report harmful content on YouTube, click here.


You can purchase a license to hold a copy of the manifesto or the video by submitting an application and paying NZ$102.20 (about US$70) to the Office of Film & Literature Classification.

License application to hold harmful content in New Zealand. (Word document available at the Office of Film & Literature Classification website)

If you want a license for each medium, it will apparently run you a total of NZ$204.40 (US$140).

The website doesn’t say how public-spirited Kiwis should reconcile the conundrum of seeing other people’s duly-licensed harmful content while under orders to report such content immediately.  That seems potentially confusing for law enforcement, as well as for alert citizens.

Perhaps, if you dig far enough, you find out that licensed harmful content-holders are expected to festoon their harmful content with notices about their licens(s).

It doesn’t seem worth pursuing at this point.  Three cheers for gubmint: the same at any distance from the International Date Line.

H/t: Nick Monroe.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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