Version as at 12 April 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Defamation Act 1992

Public Act
1992 No 105
Date of assent
26 November 1992
see section 1(2)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


1Short Title and commencement
4Defamation actionable without proof of special damage
5Malicious falsehood actionable without proof of special damage
6Proceedings for defamation brought by body corporate
7Single publication to constitute one cause of action
9Honest opinion
10Opinion must be genuine
11Defendant not required to prove truth of every statement of fact
12Honest opinion where corrupt motive attributed to plaintiff
13Absolute privilege in relation to proceedings in Parliament
14Absolute privilege in relation to judicial proceedings and other legal matters
15Other rules of law relating to absolute privilege not affected
16Qualified privilege
17Qualified privilege not to apply where publication prohibited
18Restrictions on qualified privilege in relation to Part 2 of Schedule 1
19Rebuttal of qualified privilege
20Joint publishers
21Innocent dissemination
22Consent to publication
23Evidence of adequacy of redress
25Retraction or reply
26Court may recommend correction
27Court may make recommendations as to content, etc, of correction
28Punitive damages
29Matters to be taken into account in mitigation of damages
30Misconduct of plaintiff in mitigation of damages
31Other evidence in mitigation of damages
32Defendant’s right to prove other matters in mitigation of damages not affected
33Review of damages
34Statements in open court
35Powers of Judge to call conference and give directions
36Functions of Judge and jury in relation to meaning of matter
37Particulars of defamatory meaning
38Particulars in defence of truth
39Notice of allegation that opinion not genuinely held
40Truth and honest opinion to be pleaded separately
41Particulars of ill will
42Notice of evidence of bad reputation
43Claims for damages
44Particulars in support of claim for punitive damages
45Proceedings deemed to be vexatious if no intention to proceed to trial
46Proceedings in respect of publication in different media of same matter
47Notice of multiple actions
48Consolidation of actions on application of defendants
49Limitation on subsequent actions
50Striking out for want of prosecution
51Evidence as to publisher or printer
52General verdict by jury
53Agreements to indemnify against liability for defamation
54Act not to derogate from Parliamentary privilege, etc
55Amendment to Limitation Act 1950 [Repealed]
56Repeals, revocations, and consequential amendments

An Act to amend the law relating to defamation and other malicious falsehoods