Blasphemy Repeal

Blasphemous Libel is an archaic crime which outlaws publishing material which speaks of the Christian god "irreverently" or "impiously". Its an archaic law which contravenes the Bill Of Rights Act's affirmations of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It overtly discriminates to favour one religion over others. And despite having been on the books for over a hundred years, there has never been a successful prosecution for it in New Zealand; the only case resulted in acquittal. that has not stopped Christian groups from laying complaints

Relevant legislation

Blasphemous Libel is criminalised by s123 of the Crimes Act 1961.

Potential changes

Repeal s123. For extra effect a clause could be added preventing prosecutions for past offences, as seen with Homosexual law Reform.


  • This would be seen as a provocation by the religious right, and a continuation of the "liberal social agenda" of prostitution reform, civil unions, and section 59. Politicians may be reluctant to buy into this fight, insted leaving it to be removed in the next major review of the Crimes Act.
  • That said, there is potentially a majority for this bill. Its a transparently silly law which contravenes widely held values.

Crimes (Blasphemy Repeal) Amendment Bill

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