Books like Into the River won't get banned anymore

  • 30/11/2017

Books like Into the River won't get banned anymore

Parliament has passed a law change that will help avoid a repetition of the banning of Ted Dawe's award-winning novel Into the River.

When an interim restriction order was issued in 2015 an anomaly in the law meant there were only two options - leave it unrestricted or ban it entirely until the board of review met.

The book was banned for six weeks until the interim order was reviewed and the restriction was lifted.

The bill that was passed on Wednesday gives the censor board the ability to issue interim orders based on age or specified classes of persons.

National MP Chris Bishop drafted the bill and it passed its earlier stages before the election.

"In the case of Into the River it would have meant the book could have reverted to its R14 status rather than banning it outright," he said after his bill had been passed unanimously.

"It is clear that Into the River should not have been banned - this small but useful change will help ensure such a situation doesn't happen again."

Into the River is a book about a 14-year-old Māori boy's life at a boarding school.