Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler


Update: Into the River

I noted in my last blog post, Into the River/interim restrictions, that I had applied to revoke the Interim Restriction order that is presently banning the distribution of Ted Dawe's award-winning you-adult novel, Into the River. Interim Restrictions orders have been relaxed several times in the past (generally to allow people temporarily banned from seeing a film to see the film so they can properly engage in the review process), so it was not wholly without hope.

Public Libraries of New Zealand,  the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, and the Publishers Association of New Zealand, also applied to have it revoked. I feel like I was in good company.

We received the decision earlier today. The application was refused. The temporary ban remains in place until the Board of Review makes its decision early next month.

The full decision follows. It does not really enage with any of the arguments that have been levelled against the decision, and, as with the original decision, does not even mention freedom of expression.


  1. I have received, through the Department of Internal Affairs, several applications for the revocation of the interim restriction order currently in existence in relation to INTO THE RIVER. Such applications have been made by Public Libraries of NZ, The Publishers’ Association of NZ, LIANZA and Mr Graeme Edgeler. I have given them careful consideration and have decided not to revoke the interim restriction order.
  1. The Board expects to meet on 2 October to consider the review which has been sought by Family First. That is the earliest practical date on which it is possible for the 5-member Board to meet, allowing sufficient time for the development and lodgement of submissions by eligible submitters. Those submissions will receive full consideration by the whole Board which considered the book at length in 2013 and imposed an R14 restriction.
  2. The main reason for the interim restriction order remains valid. To repeat it, it is important that the Board’s consideration of whether any restriction on availability is appropriate is not inhibited in any way by further distribution in the short period before the Board’s decision, whatever it is, is reached and published.
  3. In light of what has just been said, it is unnecessary to decide whether I am satisfied that each of the applicants for revocation is “detrimentally affected by the existence of the order” (s.51(2)(c) of the Act).

Dr D L Mathieson QC
President of the Film and
Literature Board of Review
14 September 2015

22 responses to this post

Post your response…

This topic is closed.