A celebrity household name was arrested and charged with bad behaviour in downtown Auckland - but he has been allowed to keep his identity secret.

The 46-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday, but community magistrate Joanna Sihamu granted his request to suppress his name and occupation.

Court documents show the celebrity was charged with disorderly behaviour after being arrested on Auckland's Quay St on Wednesday.

Duty defence lawyer Jenny Smith asked for name and occupation suppression for the man, and police prosecutor Brent Thomson did not oppose the application.

The celebrity entered no plea to the charge and was remanded on bail to reappear in court next month. The address listed on the charge sheet was not his residential address, but that of his employer.

He refused to comment outside court. His wife would not comment last night, saying it would be "unwise", as the matter was before the court.

The secrecy around the case comes as a proposed new law will make it harder for people to keep their identity secret simply because they are famous.

Justice Minister Simon Power released the Criminal Procedure Bill in October for public consultation.

He said the legislation would make it clear that "wealth, reputation or public awareness" were not factors to gain name suppression.

Defendants would have to prove that "extreme hardship" would result if their name was made public.

Mr Power said the legislation would make it clear there was no presumption of extreme hardship solely on the grounds that an alleged offender was well known.

"Being famous is not a good enough reason to be granted name suppression," he said.

"To ensure public confidence in the justice system is maintained, there must be one set of rules for everyone."

Media commentator Associate Professor Jim Tully, head of Canterbury University's School of Social and Political Sciences, said yesterday's suppression was "odd".

He said a "Joe Blow" citizen who appeared in court on a disorderly behaviour charge would be unlikely to get name suppression.

"If it was murder or something damaging to the reputation of the individual ... but for disorderly behaviour, it seems to me to be a very fortunate favourable treatment of the individual," Professor Tully said.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the public had a right to know who was before the courts.

"Ultimately it is the public who pay for ... I was going to say justice system but it is a legal system," Mr McVicar said.

The proposed change to the country's name suppression laws came after a famous New Zealand musician kept his identity secret after admitting to performing an indecent act on a young girl.

He was discharged without conviction and given permanent name suppression after Judge Eddie Paul ruled that the consequences of a conviction and publicly naming him would be out of proportion to the gravity of the offence.

A well-known comedian has name suppression after being charged with unlawful sexual connection with a child under the age of 12.

The case is set down for a hearing in March.