Book OK For Schools, But Not Their Facebook Page

Family First Media Release 8 July 2013
Family First says that NZ Post is being bombarded with emails and letters calling for it to withdraw its children’s book award prize which was awarded to Into the River last week.

“In a display of hypocrisy, the Award’s Facebook page is now deleting excerpts from the book which are being posted on their page. Yet they have no problem with the book, accompanied by a prestigious award, being made available in school libraries for young teenagers,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

NZ Post have so far ignored requests to withdraw the Award – responding with a form letter that acknowledges the “explicit nature” of the book, admitting that they insisted on an “explicit content” label (because it is as objectionable as we say), and that “discussions with the event organisers are ongoing“.

Meanwhile, the book which contains graphic sexual content, paedophilia, explicit descriptions of drug taking which glorifies the abuse of drugs, the misuse of adult power and sinister manipulation of 14 year olds, foul language including the ‘c’ word, and labelled by our reviewer as “a repulsive, graphic book that offers nothing in the way of hope, inspiration or how to have a healthy personal relationship” is currently being sold throughout NZ, placed in libraries, and put in school libraries with an award from NZ Post trumpeting it as the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year for Children.

“We applaud the growing number of book shops which are refusing to stock it.”

Family First is calling on NZ Post to withdraw the award from Ted Dawe’s Into the River.

“This is a shocking book which is completely inappropriate for young people, will be shocking to most New Zealand parents, and show that the judges have completely lost the plot,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“We were shocked to see the graphic sexual nature of the book and horrified to know that it is now an ‘award-winning’ book being stocked in school libraries. This is an adult book that even adults would find offensive. What worries us the most is – what will the theme of the next book be about that wins the award? The standard can’t go much lower.”

Family First has written to the Chief Censor asking for an urgent classification of the book.

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