Perjury is simply lying under oath, whether the evidence is given on oath in Court orally or by way of a sworn affidavit.
The lying must involve something being said by the person accused knowing it to be false and intended by that person to mislead the Court or the Tribunal.
We reproduce below the relevant Section of the Crimes Act 1961.
108. Perjury defined
(1) Perjury is an assertion as to a matter of
fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge made by a witness in a judicial
proceeding as part of his evidence on oath, whether the evidence is
given in open Court or by affidavit or otherwise, that assertion being
known to the witness to be false and being intended by him to mislead
the tribunal holding the proceeding.
(2) In this section the term ``oath' includes an affirmation, and
also includes a declaration made under section 13 of the Oaths and
Declarations Act 1957.
We do not think those sections require any further explanation.
We can tell you that our Courts regard perjury, and the related charges, as very serious indeed
and it is almost inevitable that you will go to prison if you are convicted of any of these charges.
The Police and the Court will act very strongly to bring anyone who has committed such an offence to justice because they believe that our whole system of justice breaks down if someone is lying on oath or conspires to pervert the course of justice. And our Courts and the Police are right on this matter.
Do not underestimate our advice that you will likely go to prison if you break any of the laws set out below.
As far as perjury in the Family Court is concerned, there was a famous case in the early seventies and that involved a Magistrate in Wellington.
He was going through a particularly unpleasant separation, but was also having an affair at the same time. He swore in an affidavit that he was not having an adulterous relationship. In those days, some Family Courts took into account " misconduct" such as adultery although those concepts are well and truly dead and buried now. But it could have been relevant then.