The Office often receives complaints about the screening of inappropriate trailers before unrestricted (G, PG and M rated) films. These trailers may include content or themes that parents feel is not suitable viewing for children and young people who are the likely audience of unrestricted films.
Under the Act, trailers are classified as films in their own right. Depending on the content of a trailer, it may be classified as unrestricted even if the film it advertises is restricted. The Act requires that cinema operators display the rating or classification information for both films and trailers either in the lobby or outside the cinema.
If you consider that the screening of a particular trailer is inappropriate, you should approach the Manager of the cinema with your concerns. If you are not satisfied, you can contact the Inspectors of Publications at the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs.
Under the Act, babies or young children may not attend a film that is restricted. Cinemas are liable for large fines if they allow you to view a restricted film with your baby. There are no exceptions to this, even for very young babies.
These restrictions also apply to home videos. It is an offence under the Act to show a child a video that has a restriction higher than the age of the child.
It is illegal for a teacher or a school to exhibit a restricted film to students under the age of the restriction - even if a film is being used for educational purposes or a parent or guardian has given their permission. Schools are liable for large fines if they break this law.
If you are unhappy with the choice of film shown to your children, you should raise the issue with the school or Board of Trustees.
The Office recommends that schools seek approval from parents/guardians for any film they intend to screen, particularly if a film has a PG or M rating, indicating that some of the content may offend some people.
Under section 8 of the Act, video games (any video recording that is designed for use wholly or principally as a game) are exempt from labelling requirements, and dont have to be classified - unless the game would be likely to be restricted if it was classified.
If you think that a particular video game should be classified and it has not been, you can forward your concerns to the Inspectors of Publications at the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs. Alternatively, you may, with the leave of the Chief Censor, submit a publication to the Office for a classification decision.
Retailers or distributors may attach overseas classification labels to video games that have not been classified in New Zealand. While these classifications are not legally binding in New Zealand, they do provide an indication of content that could be offensive or unsuitable for some viewers.
Television and radio are not covered by the Act. The Office has no authority over what is shown on television or played on the radio.
Any questions or concerns related to television or radio should be directed, in the first instance, to the television or radio station concerned. Television and radio stations are accountable to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
The one exception is films that have been banned or have had cuts made to them. Television stations may not broadcast banned films, or show uncut versions of films that have been cut, without special permission from the Chief Censor.
Music recordings do not have to be classified and labelled, but the Office will classify music if it is submitted.
Most of the labels you see on music (such as "content may offend" or "parental guidance recommended") are put there by music retailers or distributors to indicate content that could be offensive or unsuitable for some listeners.
If you are concerned about the content of a particular music recording, you can contact the Inspectors of Publications at the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs.
Alternatively, you may, with the leave of the Chief Censor, submit the recording to the Office.
Live performances do not fall under the definition of publication and therefore cannot be classified by the Office, or investigated by the Inspectors of Publications. If you have concerns about a live performance, you should contact the local Police.
If a website is hosted on a server located in New Zealand, it must conform to the Act.
Websites hosted by overseas providers are not subject to New Zealand law, although they must conform to any local law relating to website content.
Any material you download from a website onto a computer in New Zealand is covered by the Act, and may be subject to investigation by the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs, whether or not the website is hosted in New Zealand.
The following are some useful contacts for anyone setting up a website in New Zealand:
Censorship Compliance Unit
Censorship Compliance monitor the availability of objectionable material in New Zealand. They can give you more information about enforcing the law relating to the supply of explicit sexual material.
New Zealand Customs Service
The New Zealand Customs Service are responsible for enforcing the censorship law at New Zealand's borders.
Netsafe, the programme of New Zealand's Internet Safety Group (ISG) provides cybersafety education for all New Zealanders.
Internet Society of New Zealand
ISOCNZ has a Code of Practice for ISPs that contains information about what material should be avoided on New Zealand websites. They also have some material on the business aspects of websites.
For more website links go to the links page.