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Concerns over Family Court media censorship powers

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 10:57 am Sat 25th September 2004

Government plans to give Family Court judges the power to vet media stories is a form of censorship that journalists strongly oppose, Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) New Zealand chairman Gavin Ellis said today.

Family Court proceedings would be opened to the public and media with tight restrictions in place, the Government announced yesterday.

Changes were designed to improve transparency without compromising proceedings, ministers said.

Media and others could attend hearings with the judge’s permission, while involved parties could ask for outsiders to be excluded.

Judges could direct that draft news reports be submitted to the court to check they complied with court directions.

Any breach of those directions would mean individuals were liable of three months’ imprisonment or a $2000 fine and organisations up to $10,000 in fines.


  1. Well, Aunty Helen, it appears you’ve gone and done the impossible again!

    Behold! The “clayton’s reform of the Family Court” – the reform you have when you aren’t having a reform.

    Why bother opening the Family Court to the press and, in the same breath, give the judiciary the absolute power to censor any reporting of proceedings?

    I suppose it will be the same when you introduce the Child SupportTax Amendment Bill which David Belchamber of the Commissioner’s office assures me is ready for release [on the unsuspecting penalised parent fraternity, no doubt].

    You, Uncle David [Cunliffe] and Uncle Steve [Maharey] need to seriously wake up and smell the coffee!

    There is an election coming and you will be surprised at the swing against your arrogant socio-communist “PC” government.

    Comment by Mark Shipman — Thu 7th October 2004 @ 1:01 pm

  2. Just goes to prove that Labour’s socialist-feminist cabal is insincere in saying that it will change the ‘femily caught’ into an open and therefore publically accountable institution. Yeah right.
    I note the huge irony that John (stop bashing males) Tamihere is very conspicuously quiet about his party’s deceptiveness in first saying they support a more open family court, then giving judges the right to effectively censor any media reporting of femily caught procedings!
    We clearly need some Gladsnost in NZ. John T reckons rightly that the femily caught is biased against men. He’s got that much correct. Now the question is
    ‘Whatchagonnadoaboutit John?’

    Stephen Gee.

    Comment by Stephen Gee — Fri 8th October 2004 @ 5:30 pm

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