30 Oct 2022

Justice Minister wants urgent changes to name suppression laws

7:13 pm on 30 October 2022

By Kelvin McDonald of NZ Herald

Kiri Allan

Justice Minister Kiri Allan. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan is seeking urgent advice on changing New Zealand's name suppression laws, which she says are not working for victims.

Asked on Sunday's Q+A programme if name suppression is working, Allan said, "I don't think so."

She said this was particularly so for sexual violence and sexual offending.

"Right now there's a current requirement that automatic name suppression applies. And then, only once the case is completed and finalised, can that victim, therefore, make an application at her own or his own cost to have that name suppression removed.

"I don't think that that's fair. I don't think that that's a victim-centric way of looking at the way these rules apply."

The Justice Minister is adamant she wants that to change.

"It's certainly something I've sought fast-track advice on, because I want to be able to make reforms in this area."

More broadly, Allan said she did not believe it was fair that more powerful, influential and famous people were getting name suppression.

"If you're well-funded, well-resourced, then you can seek to have your name suppressed for a range of different reasons. I don't think that that leads to just outcomes," she told Q+A.

Allan said she had also sought urgent advice on this.

"I don't think it's just. I don't think it's fair, and I don't think New Zealanders looking in on the system think that system is working adequately either."

In terms of the release of suppressed details on social media or by global media, Allan said laws needed to catch up.

"We are also operating with laws that were designed in a different time, that [don't] adequately take into consideration social media and our global environment," she said.

"That's essentially part of the advice I'll get back - how do we make these rules fit for purpose?"

* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

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