Under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993, it is an offence to supply a restricted publication (including a DVD, game or magazine) to someone who is excluded from seeing it by the classification given by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (e.g. supplying an age-restricted publication to a person below the age specified in the restriction).
It is also illegal to supply a person with a restricted publication with the knowledge that they are going to go on to breach the restriction. This means that if you sell a restricted publication to an adult with the knowledge that they are going to supply it to an under-age person, you are committing an offence. Under section 126 of the Act, the penalty for these acts is in the case of an individual a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000 and in the case of a body corporate a fine not exceeding $25,000.
For more information on the classification labels and what each one means, check out the film labels section on our website.
Under section 37 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994, retailers are required to display the ratings and classifications of all films, videos, DVDs and video games and any descriptive notes that accompany the classifications. These classifications must be on displayed at all times while the premises are open to the public.
In addition to displaying the classifications for individual publications, retailers must also display material which explains the classification symbols. This information must include the current rating and classification symbols and an explanation of their meaning. This signage must be no less than 40cm by 28cm and be printed in letters and figures that are easily readable at a reasonable distance from the notice. This information must be displayed in a conspicuous location on the premises and must be displayed at all times while the premises are open to the public. The Office has posters with this information available free of charge. If you would like a poster for your store please contact the Information Unit.
Under the Act, conditions may also apply to the display of restricted publications. For retailers, this might involve limiting the display of DVDs or videos to age-restricted areas of the store (such as an “over 18 only” area) or ensuring that no age-restricted movies or video games are played on screens which are visible in an unrestricted area (the areas of the store that are open to everyone). In addition, some film and game posters may be restricted, and subject to display conditions.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification has posters, brochures and information sheets available which outline the classification symbols and meanings. These are available from the downloads page of our website. If you would like a supply of these for your store, please contact the Information Unit.
You can also search our online database for information on publications which have been restricted or classified as objectionable (banned).
The Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs enforces the classification law. If you would like more information on enforcement, you can contact the Censorship Compliance Unit on freephone 0800 257 887 or visit their website at www.censorship.dia.govt.nz.
If you would like more information regarding the classification of publications, contact the Information Unit.