“Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti needs to explain why the Classification Office appears to have carried out last minute censorship of the film ‘The Kashmir Files,’” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Kashmir Files is clearly controversial for some New Zealanders, but New Zealand is a country committed to freedom of expression. Furthermore, the film is widely regarded as being based on facts, and has being defended by Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi as such.

“It appears some complainants have had the film censored, but the answer to uncomfortable issues is not censorship. The New Zealand Government should not try to resolve foreign disputes by censoring one side in favour of the other. If you come to New Zealand, you accept New Zealand values such as free speech.

“The film has been shown widely overseas in countries such as Australia, the United States and United Kingdom. New Zealanders should have the right to watch it too.

“At present the Office of Film and Literature Classification has deemed it R16 and the Film and Video Labelling Board also reports it is authorised at that classification. And yet, it cannot be shown as scheduled on March 24, according to widespread reports.

“The Classification Office needs to explain why it has abruptly banned a film that was scheduled to begin showing next week. The Office has left no indication on its website as to why the film has been pulled.

“By failing to front, the Office has created widespread speculation about political interference and bias. While the Office should indeed be politically independent, it is ultimately up to the responsible Minister to find out why this censorship has occurred and what happens next.”