An attempt to repeal New Zealand's outdated blasphemy law has been scuppered in Parliament.

On May 9 MP Chris Hipkins tabled a Supplementary Order Paper which would have added the blasphemy law to the Statutes Repeal Bill which is making its way through Parliament.

But National and Maori Party MPs voted on Tuesday not to add the blasphemy law to the list of statutes being repealed.

Fairfax reported it was understood the Government planned to address the issue through a select committee and let the public make submissions on any law change.


The fact that blasphemy is still a crime in New Zealand came as a surprise to many when it was highlighted earlier this month.

The Crimes Act 1961 lists blasphemous libel as punishable by a year in prison.

The archaic law came into the spotlight after it was reported that Irish police were investigating comedian Stephen Fry after he called God an "utter maniac" in a TV interview.

At the time Prime Minister Bill English said there was "no urgency" to scrap New Zealand's blasphemy law, although he agreed it should be repealed.