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Keeping abreast of legal issues

By Steven | August 15, 2008

Dean Knight and I have been debating one of the finer points of the Bill of Rights Act. We’ve been talking about how it might apply to the proposed boobs-on-bikes parade. (I gather an injunction application is being argued as I type).

The question relates to Bob McCoskrie’s [corrected spelling courtesy of Robyn: see comments] claim that the parade involves “sexualised nudity”. This presumably makes the nudity more offensive, and also suggests an element of lewdness that’s necessary for the charge of indecent exposure (and that might be missing, for example, from the naked bike protest).

It also relates to the extra protection that the Bill of Rights requires for political speech.

The debate goes something like this:

Steven: You know what? I think it might depend on the amount of jiggle.

Dean: I think that’s right.

Steven: If there’s more jiggle, then it looks more sexualised – so arguably more lewd and offensive. Then controlling the parade fits better with the purposes of the Local Government Act, and the offences of offensive behaviour and indecent exposure. You’ve got less wiggle room for an argument based on the significance of the speech. More jiggle – less wiggle.

Dean: No, I disagree. If there’s more jiggling, there’s more of a political component to the protest. It is deliberately provocative. It underscores the parade’s message being more open about sexuality. It emphasises that the protest is defying convention, and the council’s attempts to scotch it. There’s less reason to protect an unjiggly naked protest, because the nakedness is less central to the protesters’ purpose. Jiggling provides better grounds for a defence for boobs on bikes. More jiggle – more wiggle.

Such is the stuff of academic discourse. Though it’s fair to say that Dean doesn’t normally evince this degree of interest in women’s breasts.

Topics: Local government regulations, NZ Bill of Rights Act, Protest speech | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Keeping abreast of legal issues”

  1. deanknight Says:
    August 16th, 2008 at 8:43 am


  2. Robyn Says:
    August 17th, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Bob from Family First seems to have a surname designed to be difficult to spell. It’s not McCloskie (above) or McCoskie (the linked Herald article) but actually McCoskrie.

    Perhaps it would be easier for all concerned if he changed his name to Bob McFamily.

  3. Steve Crow wins again | Kiwiblog Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    […] colleague Steven Price then details a conversation he had with Dean on the legal issues: Steven: You know what? I think it might depend on the amount […]


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