Steven Price

My book

Media Minefield

Guide to NZ Media Law

Official Information Act

Official Information Act

Bill of Rights Act

Media law resources

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About me

I’m a barrister specialising in media law, practising in Wellington.

You might have heard me commenting on legal issues in the media. You probably thought to yourself, “what a wise and reasonable fellow”. Many, many people say that to me.

After getting a first class honours degree in law from Victoria University of Wellington, I cut my teeth as one of Fair Go’s lawyers. After about three years, I studied at the University of California at Berkeley and obtained a Masters degree in Journalism, and have since done a range of (mostly freelance) journalism, so I’ve got training and experience on both sides of the journalistic fence.

More recently, I’ve given legal advice on Nicky Hager’s last five books and was involved in his successful legal challenge to the Police raid on his house following the publication of Dirty Politics. I also helped Nicky fend off an attempt by Cameron Slater to get at his source material using the Privacy Act. Before that, I also represented him when Don Brash got an injunction that covered The Hollow Men, and in his subsequent defamation stoush with Australian political consultants Crosby Textor.

I represented Margaret Harkema in her successful broadcasting standards claim against a series of Campbell Live shows about her, and in her subsequent defamation settlement, which included a prime-time apology three nights in a  row on TV3 and a payment of damages.

In 2006 I managed to persuade the Court of Appeal to un-ban Anne Hunt’s book “Broken Silence”. In more recent years, I  have represented the Ministry of Health in its successful broadcasting standards complaints against TV3’s Qantas-award winning documentary “Let Us Spray”. I acted for Minister of Health David Cunliffe in a complaint against TVNZ’s Close Up programme that was upheld, and I represented several Coromandel councillors in their successful broadcasting standards complaints against Kool FM. On the other side of the fence, I’ve also provided advice to television and radio broadcasters in successful High Court appeals, including the appeals over the TV programmes Hung and the Sunday current affairs doco on the Aramoana massacre. I’ve also successfully argued cases before the Press Council, including one in which the NZ Herald was forced to publish a front-page correction. I have also frequently acted for defendants and plaintiffs in defamation cases. I have a fond admiration for protesters, and was one of Valerie Morse’s lawyers in her successful Supreme Court appeal against her conviction for offensive behaviour when she burned a flag during a protest.

I represented Random House in its successful attempt to persuade the censor not to age-restrict 50 Shades of Grey.

You can find out about my professional services here.

I’ve written a book called Media Minefield to help people understand the decisions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council, and the laws of defamation, privacy, contempt of court, breach of confidence and trespass.

I’m also an adjunct lecturer in media law at Victoria University of Wellington’s law school. A few years ago, I was the law school’s Fellow in Law and Journalism, and carried out research into the operation of the Official Information Act. I concluded that it works pretty well until you start asking for something that’s politically sensitive. You can find it here. I was the first NZ country reporter for the international Open Government Partnership, which assessed the NZ’s commitments to transparency, and found them rather lacking.


Contact details

Ph 04 463 6336 (work)

Fax 04 463 6365

Mobile 022 026 2997

Email: or


School of Law

Victoria University of Wellington

PO Box 600



If you have any concerns with my services, I encourage you to raise them with me. The Law Society also operates a Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. Information on how to use the Law Society service, including its rules around confidentiality, are available on request.


Policy on bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, racial harassment, violence

My legal practice does not tolerate bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, racial harassment, or violence at any level. All clients and people I engage can expect to be treated with respect. If I fail to meet this policy in any respect, it is grounds for complaint. I encourage you to raise any concerns with me in the first instance, but again, the Law Society’s Lawyers Complaints Service is available for you to complain to.


There are avenues of support available to anyone affected by bullying, discrimination or harassment. They include the Human Rights Commission, which offers a free confidential service at 0800 496 7877. Those experiencing violence or assault can report it to the police at 111, or the HELP line at 90 623 1700. National Rape Crisis is at 0800 883 300. ACC’s sensitive claims unit (for assistance with funding support) can be reached at 0800 735 566. You can also find information at